As I sat in our master bedroom this morning, nursing Katie in our large, navy chair while listening to the rain drizzling on our tin roof, I sit in marvel and amazement. We are going through a season of change as we embrace our role as parents. We never planned to have our master bedroom be the nursery for the first few months, in fact, we have a finished nursery just steps away that has barely been used.
In fact, I spend hours each day in this corner, staring down at the little face as I feed her. In the early weeks, when Katie was losing weight and needing constant attention, our bedroom became “home base”. The bay window nook quickly became a nursery nook, complete with bassinet, nursing station and pumping supplies and our long dresser became the changing table. While there are so many things that reflect the change we are going through, nothing symbolizes this more than our dresser.
This Pottery Barn dresser was one of the first joint purchases Bo and I made together. I remember searching and saving our money for months, nine years ago, to buy a bedroom set for our first apartment in New York City.
Two years ago, when we moved into this apartment, I spent hours on Pinterest, design and lifestyle blogs and flipping through the pages of design magazines searching for inspiration. I wanted this dresser to be the first thing that greeted us when we entered the master bedroom. The dresser was styled, always polished in immaculate style and adorned with fresh flowers, a blue and white vase, my favorite candle, and a perfectly angled framed photograph. Even when other parts of our bedroom, including the dresser drawers, were a mess, I kept this bedroom centerpiece dusted and organized.
Now, as I look at the dresser, I see clutter and chaos. But, the change that has happened over the past eight weeks is that this clutter doesn’t stress me out or cause anxiety. Instead, in this chaos, I find happiness as each item that is covering the once stylized dresser is a symbol of this season of change.
First and foremost, I notice the diapers. Once perfectly organized in an adorable bag, the clean ones are now over flowing from the bag while a single used diaper sits on the edge of the pad. I smile at the neatly folded, wrapped and sealed dirty diaper. Within the first few days, we learned that the tighter you fold them, the more we can stuff into the diaper pail. The tight fold also means that less odor seeps out of them after changes.
Then, I see Katie’s outfit from yesterday. I remember during the first week, when our small daughter seemed so fragile, that I was scared to change her outfit. I told my mom that she’d most likely see Katie wearing only kimono tops as these didn’t require me to pull anything over her head. Now, I laugh to myself as yesterdays outfit not only went over her head but it was also outfit number two as I quickly changed her after our morning burp session resulted in more than dribbles. In my opinion, after a few hours, dry formula and milk smells worse than a dirty diaper and therefore can sometimes mean that we change outfits more than once a day. But, now that she’s almost eleven pounds and not nearly as fragile, I no longer fear outfit changes.
Next, there is the pile of burp cloths. They don’t match and there is a mix of styles, prints, sizes, and brands. The first week, I thought that the six burp cloths we’d received from friends and family at our baby showers were more than enough. In fact, I told my parents they could take a few home to Savannah. My dad laughed and told me that when I was desperate for more, the Gerber cloth diapers serve as inexpensive, wonderfully large burp cloths. Now, we have more than twenty burp cloths including these Gerber ones and yet every time I go to burp Katie, I feel like the pile is running low.
Finally, there is a crumpled to do list. Each morning, I take a few minutes to jot down the things I want to accomplish, knowing that I may only get one or two done each day. As I’ve mentioned on here and to friends and family, once upon a time I thought I’d spend her long naps reading, cleaning the house and making her newborn scrap book. Instead, I’ve come to realize that those long naps quickly evolved to multiple, shorter naps many of which are shorter than expected. Katie loves to play and interact, rarely wanting the nap that she so desperately needs. My sole purpose and goal of maternity leave are to nurture, love and support our growing girl. So while the pile of clothes may go unfolded and the library books were quickly returned, each day that I see her smile and personality come out more and more, I know that I’m succeeding. I still make this list, not to cause anxiety, but to help keep me organized so when I do have a few spare moments, I remember the most important items that day, which sometimes may be to pay the rent, submit bills to insurance, prep dinner, or remember to buy milk. It’s a good thing that I remember to include “make Katie smile” at the top of the to do list each day.
Who knew nine years ago, when Bo and I purchased this dresser, that it would one day come to represent one of the most wonderful seasons of change we’ve experienced?