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On: Motherhood

Recently, I signed up for this intensive training course. It was one of those cram as much learning as humanly possible into the shortest span of time kind of deals, obviously designed for the intrinsically motivated – this course is called motherhood … and as of August 19th  …roughly 5-months ago, I’ll be a student here for the rest of my natural life.

24-hours of labor -- (labour) -- some pretty aggressive threats to both a student nurse and my husband, a spinal tap, and some forceps later -- I had a baby girl in my arms. I couldn’t understand the intensity of emotions swirling around my exhausted, inexperienced head.  In that moment, I clung to disbelief, then awe set in and the things I do remember from that first night is a little blurry. Disbelief was where it started, but then I began collecting every curious and consuming feeling i could embrace since that first moment together. I have tucked them all away into a lock box in my heart. I am forever bound to you from 6lbs 13oz to whatever did and does happen forever – even that 1 pound of weight loss you tortured me with just one week after you were born. 

Y O U are so beautiful, sometimes I think I’ll never see anything more perfect from here on out, and then one of those days hits me smack between my eyes. I fall off my crying-over-your-beauty-rainbow and hit the ground. Yes, because things get difficult, and draining and oh so weepy … sometimes we both cry. But mainly it’s you; sometimes you scream and moan and poop on my arm, then you take a fist full of my hair and yell some more. You ARE so dramatic. This is what I think you are saying:

“waaaaaaa… mom, this is boring—I’ve seen this room, I’m so sick of the ceiling waaaa ... ugh don't put me down!!!”

I get it, you are learning and absorbing at a rate no formed adult can comprehend and you crave stimulation like air; I do my best little muffin. But just when I feel proud of our harmony, you decide to shake things up. It is during those moments of clarity and harmony precisely that regurgitate your entire meal onto my fresh, clean shirt in 20 minute intervals (and I wore pajamas for 3-months, so putting on a shirt was a big step for me.)

You are the neediest best friend I've ever had, but thanks for testing my patience, I've always needed to work on that. Thanks for teaching me how to eat dinner in 14 seconds with my non-dominate hand. Thank you for making me feel funny and for being amused when I do mundane things in a silly voice. Your gummy smile, shatters my happiness meter.

You are incredible to me and always will be; it’s unimaginably painfully, gorgeous;  it’s heart-stopping;  your beauty is recognizably already worth all the hard work and bad days scattered in front of me for the next 37 years or however many I have left as your mom. Your beauty is even worth the first time you tell me you hate me, and you will (sad face) because hormones are a Horrible with a capital H.
   
I look at you and I see these perfect, tiny, little body parts and facial features that I assembled with my own body. God knows how it all works, but it is truly amazing. This love that I get to feel is because I made a life. For 9-months, I gave up coffee and booze and bad food choices; I anxiously calculated every choice in relation to growing you. I borrowed a very important cell from your dad and gave up my body to give you a safe home, a place for you to grow and form. I also gave up what my body was, and maybe I gave up the best it would ever look in a bikini – I just traded that in. WORTH IT! Who cares how many sit ups it takes to get those ‘washboard abs’, I made a human; I grew a skeleton. I’d rather make a human than a washboard, any day! Ironically, however, my human has me doing more washing that I ever imagined, so on a technicality is that having my cake and eating it too?!? 
    
To my little budding person, to my exquisite girl, if I could record everything you do -- I would.  You won’t remember what we’ve been through or even understand our connection, the best chance you’ll have at even appreciating that is if you are lucky enough to have your own children. You’ll have babies one day, but maybe you won’t because sometimes it’s not in the cards. If you can’t, I’ll sit with you and I'll tell you a million times over how special you have made my life. I’ll urge you to live on to find your unique purpose.  I’ll hold your sweet head in my hands if you need to cry. I would give up my own life if you wanted something you couldn’t have- if it were only that easy. And there is more—LIFE isn’t easy, it’s gritty and sometimes it feels like your chewing sand just to get through the days and challenges that will find you. Be brave and kind and trust that whatever hurts will fade .. a bit …or a lot …. or totally – with time. Give it time my love.

FYI - you will call me a thousand times and ask how to make my deviled eggs even though it’s only mustard and mayo and every time I will tell you patiently and happily because I love it when you call me.

When you are 18 you’ll want a tattoo of a Disney quote or some animal that you think is cute. With your 18-year-old mind, this seems justifiable – DON’T do it, when you’re 29 you will wish you could go back in time and tell your 18-year-old self not to do it.

Hopefully the future you will always be a better version of “the you” that you are along the way. I will raise you to strive for self-improvement as you go along in life. I will teach you to own everything that happens to you ...

"if you want people to speak affectionately of you, you should have behaved better."

Munchkin, you will get gum stuck in your hair, don’t cut it out yourself, yes, you guessed it, I WILL be mad, but even more mad if you hide it from me. And speaking of gum in your hair, let that be a metaphor for living your life and accepting the good, bad, sticky and complicated narratives of the whole deal. Delicious, chewy, sweet gum is far less appealing in your hair than your mouth. But stay calm, find a solution and in the end, it will be ok.

And a few more lessons – there so many, I hope I do them justice and help you blossom, I hope you’re graceful girl. I will teach you to own even the mistakes and to let your life breathe— tell your story. Perfection is an idea not a reality. I will teach you to acknowledge your urges and that your primary relationship should always be with yourself. Once I read somewhere that if you love yourself, you will attract that same love, understanding and commitment in other people, I never stopped believing that and I hope I can teach you to believe it too.  I will teach you to be intimate with your feelings – feelings are so difficult but this ebb and flow is what actually makes life so good. Joy is only relative to its inverse; I know it sounds loony. You will cry, and lose people and know heart break (pause for my own sobs) and there will be thousands of days when you will want to throw in the towel and give up. DON’T give up! It all makes sense with time. 

I could write 50 more pages but there’s just two more things: ONE, in relationships demand respect, don’t let anyone take advantage of any good you have offer – good should be a mirror; TWO, your father is a shining example of a good man, recognize that before you move out. And the last things I will say (FOR NOW) no one will ever love you as much as I do. I made you and that is just the way it goes kiddo. Be good.

Love,
Mom



 <3 <3  Lovingly dedicated to my MOM <3 <3

Comments

  1. Really beautiful Annie, love the dedication to your own mom at the bottom x

    ReplyDelete

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