Listening to: The House of Eliott (gotta love British daytime TV)
Now that I've finished my US taxes, and the happy dance that goes along with it
(Ohh, don't worry, my American readers, your Mother's Day is still in May. Aaaaand breathe.)
I have been celebrating a lot of "This day one year ago's"... the first day I was pregnant but didn't know it (that would explain the nausea)... the first big birthday bash I went to and was pregnant and didn't know it (that would explain the nausea)...and the day last year we celebrated my mother-in-law's mum-ness, in a restaurant in which I almost fell asleep in a plate of potato skins, because I was pregnant and didn't know it (that would also explain the nausea).
But would you believe that nearly four months into all-new motherhood, I recently looked at my mother-in-law and asked her what she wanted to do for Mother's Day. Here's what happened.
Her: "It's up to you."
Me: "Uh. No, I think it's up to you. You're the mom."
Her: "So are you."
You would have thought that the countless bouts of morning sickness and the stress and the waddling and the stress and the eight-and-a-half months of going without coffee (something akin to sheer madness) and the stress and then the childbirth and oh man, I'm holding a baby in my arms and she's staring at me and I'm looking right back at her...and the bottomless helplessness, the sticky-eyed nightfeeds, the doorways that move in the dark, and the stress, the mastitis and the horrors of truckloads of laundry composed of baby clothes I'm still learning how to snap...
You would have thought after all that, I would have realized that Mother's Day is my day too.
That after all of these things, I could ever deserve such a day.
Maybe it's something every new mother feels. It's sort of like putting on a new uniform. A uniform that is either too small or too big, for a job you're not sure you can do right, let alone well.
|Image from here. A fabulous site.|
Motherhood (and parenthood in general) is just something you learn as you go. You can read every book under the sun, and you can listen to advice (whether it's solicited or not), but you won't truly know how to do it until you are actually doing it.
Googling keywords will not teach you how to change a diaper. A Youtube video will not teach you how to bathe a baby. (Believe me, I tried these. For all their knowledge, they didn't work. I still got baby poop in my hair, and worried that her diaper was on too tight/too loose/too high/too low. And I didn't really learn about bathing a baby until I felt her warm weight in my hand and tried to hold her still while her screams shredded the kitchen. But after most of the water ended up on me, and after a huge lump in my throat, I had a clean baby in the end, so.)
Maybe I had been too caught up in the spin of my daughter: her needs, her feeds, the shape of her mouth when she sleeps, her little hand wrapped around my finger.
Maybe I forgot - or perhaps didn't pause long enough to let it sink in - what my husband told me not long ago: That when I leave the room, she cranks her head around and watches the doorway, waiting for me to return.
She actually does that. I mean, wow.
Maybe it's the first time I have ever felt needed.
Feeling needed is a terrifying and wonderful thing. It is equal parts sweetness and worry. To me, it's what being a mother is all about.
And so, while I very hesitantly don this new uniform, still creased from the shop shelves, priceless tags still swinging, I whole-heartedly wish an early Happy Mother's Day to my mother, mother-in-law, and step-mom and my Granny and Grandmas on both sides. A hats off also to all mothers around the world. You sacrificed long showers and hot dinners to a baby's cry. You work hard and for absolutely nothing. You know it's not about a card, or a gift, or flowers. Mother's Day is a reminder of who you are and what you mean to your family, in case time makes you forget.
Thank you to all those ladies out there who have been there, or who are still there. To the ladies just starting the journey and pulling that new uniform up over their heads for the first time. Thank you to all those who learned and loved and give us life.
(And this year on Sunday, I will bounce my baby on my knee...and raise a glass to me!)
Happy Wednesday, everyone.