Here Comes the Cavalry
The morning after our first night home from the hospital, my wife and I felt like we’d been run over by a dump truck that then went into reverse and ran over us again before dumping ten tons of gravel onto our heads. We were exhausted, deranged, and unsure of ourselves. Taking care of a newborn was some next level shit that we just were not ready for.
Thank goodness for my wife’s parents. They came to the rescue with bags full of groceries and a directive that we rest. My mother-in-law cooked up a storm while my father-in-law ran errands for us. In the meantime, my wife, Dmitri, and I all got some sleep. Finally.
It’s funny because my mother-in-law said she wanted to stay over the first night back from the hospital because she knew how hard it would be. She didn’t end up staying because she thought she would be imposing on us. It didn’t help that my wife and I were so cocksure, like, “We got this, yo! Even though we’ve literally never done it before and have no idea what to expect!” In hindsight, my mother-in-law should’ve just told us she’s staying; end of discussion.
My mother-in-law spent the next few nights with us. It was great having her there as a safety net so my wife and I could start figuring out what worked for us. Not only that, but my mother-in-law cooked and cleaned for us so we could focus all of our attention on taking care of Dmitri. And best of all, my wife and I actually got to sleep! In bursts longer than ten minutes! Hallelujah.
The moral of the story is it really does take a village to raise a child. It’s not just the extra physical help, but also the emotional support and knowledge that comes from those who’ve done it before you; who’ve gone through the same struggle. Take for example, Crazy Eye.
My wife spent the first few nights lying awake at night because she thought each sound the baby made meant he was choking to death. I’d keep waking up to see her with a crazed look in her eye fussing over the baby. I’d never seen my wife so keyed up; she’s usually very mild-mannered. Fortunately, a phone call to grandma put her at ease. She told my wife Crazy Eye is completely normal for a new mom (grandma went through the first thing). After that conversation, my wife was able to relax and sleep.
I can’t wait to repay the favor when Dmitri has his own children. I’ll cook and clean and run errands and do whatever else I can so he and his wife can take care of the new baby (our grandchild — yikes!). I won’t let him say no, either. My wife and I are going to barge our way in and give Dmitri and his wife all the help they need.
Whether they like it or not.