Saturday, January 22, 2011

An Ode to Adrian

I am hushed over the computer with my eyes practially bugging out--miracle of miracles-- both my newborn and toddler are actually asleep at the same time! So here is my opportunity to put some thoughts together, which has not been an easy thing to do since Baby Adrian was born six weeks ago.

Baby Adrian. My snuggle puppy (yep, that's a Sandra Boyton title) and my unexpected little boy. I was quite vocal during my pregnancy about wanting another girl and when asked about the possibility of she being a HE--since we chose not to find out at the ultrasound--I would crinkle up my nose and sigh. "I have no idea what to do with a boy" followed by a slight shudder. The other person might smile and say wisely "The same thing you would do with a girl" but I wasn't really listening. I was convinced I was a Girl Only Mommy.

With that last momentous push with all of my heart, soul and being, I heard the doctor say triumphantly "It's a boy!" and that was that. I knew it! I thought. For as much as I had resisted, by the end of my pregnancy I found myself referring to "it" as "he" and wondering why my belly was hanging so dang low--so different than my first pregnancy with Angelica. My subconscious had been warning me, trying to get me ready ahead of time. My baby was then whisked away to be cleaned and checked, and I just sat back in the bed, without much urgency to get right in there. Finally my husband walked over to sneak a peek. "What's he look like?" I asked tentatively. "He....has big, big eyes" (A little later in the recovery room we would laugh and say that the baby was a slightly feito, a "little" ugly in Spanish, but luckily I now chalk up that observation to the fact that he was still pretty squished and spotty from being born). Big eyes? I was curious. "Bring him over, I want to hold him." He was then placed on my chest and I was checking him out. He really looked like a he, no doubt about that, smack dab in his facial features. But there was still something endearing about him...

And that was the beginning of this love story.

A love story that took a few days to figure out the perfect name. We came to the hospital without one, and the options we pulled out of our "just in case" file weren't working. Alan? Nope. Elian? (Nope, that one was out when I tried it out on the delivery room nurse who pronounced it as "Alien"). Julian? The nurse wheeling me to the recovery room raved about how much she liked it, but still something didn't feel right. Then I remembered "Adrian". And my heart skipped a beat--he looked like an "Adrian". I then remembered my mom's comment to that name when I tried it out during pregnancy: "Aren't there more girl Adriennes?" and recalled that that had been why I had thrown out the idea at the time.

Skip ahead to the next day at the hospital. One of the pediatricians on-staff at the hospital walks in cheerfully and introduces herself and her assistant, Adrian. Adrian??? I can't see the other person yet. Is it a he Adrian or a she Adrienne? A tall and handsome he Adrian walks briskly behind the doctor. I smile. "Your name is Adrian? Do you like your name?" He replies that yes, in fact he does and always has. And then laughs about the Rocky association: "Adrieeeennnnne" (which does not deter me). I consider this my sign. I tell my husband. We agree on Emilio as a middle name, in honor of Rufino's paternal grandfather.

He has a name, and my heart opens even more to him. The days and nights pass slowly. He cries so much. He sleeps all day and we barely see his open eyes when it's not 12:30 AM. or 3:00. Or 5:30. I cry with sleep deprviation. My patience goes south with my sweet Angelica, and I feel torn in two different directions with two sets of Very Big Needs of my children. He wakes up and needs to be fed; she wakes up and needs my attention. Shortly afterward, he starts to fuss and then all out cry without consolation because he's tired. She watches me try to soothe him and then promptly loses it. Theres only so much a two year old can take when her mommy is loving on someone else. She melts down completely and demands to be held, crocodile tears streaming down her face. He screams, she screams. (We all scream--me inwardly--but not for ice cream). Eventually the storm clouds pass and he's sound asleep and she's playing in the living room, singing to herself, but not soon enough. Then there are the nights when deep down I know that I don't really like him very much. I resent that he and I are the only two people awake, together, again. But then out of the blue he lets me sleep a little longer, maybe 3 hours in a row, and I wake up completely enamored with him. Head over heels. He smiles at me--finally-- and I feel the shift. I open up a little more, and let him in. Adrian. My boy, wonder of wonders. What will I ever do with you?

I will love you. Patiently will I wait to get to know you. I will try not to lose my way as we maneuver down this path together, even as day by day I may feel stretched to the limit and sometimes like I'm letting you down. I'm not holding you enough, or singing or talking to you enough because I'm tired or Angelica needs me or quite frankly, sometimes I'm just not sure what to say to you. That guilt does grip me fiercely at times, Adrian. I can't give you all of me all of the time, and that hurts. But I promise that I will still be here, imperfectly, trying to scoot along and meet your needs as best as I can as we slowly come to get to know each other more and more. I'll be here. For you. You can bet on that.

And you, baby boy, may teach me things I never would known had you been born a girl. God love you for that.

Epilogue: The doorbell rings. Angelica startles awake and yells from her room. Baby wakes up and cries. In one split second chaos returns, and my moment of sweet reflection is shattered...but alas, these thoughts have remarkably still been pulled together and recorded! YAY!!!!!!


  1. See what little boys can do to their mommy's hearts?! What a wonderful post--sweet, endearing, precious,honest. Through the ups and downs a love story has truly emerged. Thanks for sharing--this has been so touching to read.

    p.s. and let me go on record here--this grandma loves the name Adrian!!

  2. This is a lovely post, Melissa! It's great that you got to write in such detail while they were sleeping. Believe it or not, all this would fade from your memory had it not been recorded. Time well spent!

  3. You're a wonderful writer! :) No wonder my M.I.L. likes you so much! :)

    And as a fellow Not-Finder-Outer, I salute you. I, too, was stunned and a little bewildered when my second was a boy. I so wanted to be able to say to my husband some day, "OK, Honey, I'll pick up THE GIRLS from school." Or, "MY GIRLS just love to sing together."

    But now, oh, how I love my little man.

  4. Well said. You have a way with words...
    I often wonder how parents who have many children can manage it all. I only have 2 and I often feel that I am just too tired at the end of the day to give them what they need. I think the key is to just do the best you can, and know that your children feel they are loved. Our boys are 7 now, and they still follow us around the house. I can't even get 5 minutes alone in the bathroom! :)
    P.S. Boys are a lot of fun!!! You might even get a few minutes of "you" time when he gets older and plays sports with dad!

  5. Melissa, ALL I can say is "what a great writer."

    I understand all of the thoughts that you expressed and have been there a few times myself.

    Just a side note: I think that you should try your hand at writing professionally and see what happens. You always keep a reader interested and wanting to finish reading. That is one key element that qualifies a writer as a good writer. All the best...MISS YOU ALL!