In spite of a deal I made with God at his birth, my child is not going to be the first human to remain a cuddly little baby for the rest of his life. He turns one on Sunday. God, that happened fast!
As I sit here, and do that thing all mothers do (reflecting upon how quickly this past year has crept by), I decided that I am going to put my thoughts on paper (er…on screen), and let you all read them. It will probably be pretty incoherent. Lucky you.
So much has happened. So much has changed. It was exactly a year ago tonight that I first started feeling the “real deal” contractions, instead of the “honey, I have heartburn AGAIN” contractions I was used to. He was already a week and a half late, and I was MISERABLE. At the same time, I was terrified, and grateful for the extra time with those who loved me most.
I wasn’t ready to be a mom. I still had selfish tendencies. I didn’t possess the wisdom necessary to raise a child. I still tripped over nothing. I ate ice cream for dinner on a regular basis. I had crazy dreams of being an actor that I just couldn’t seem to let go of. My greatest joy in life was to stay up late watching “The West Wing” on Netflix, while drinking wine with my sister. I was extremely attached to the idea of the hippie and I actually getting to spend our spare time alone with each other, and occasionally spoiling ourselves with a nice dinner, or concert tickets. I wasn’t ready! I hadn’t read enough. I didn’t know any other moms my age in town (aside from a dear friend from college who would be joining the ranks of the motherhood about a month after myself). Who was going to be there with me, and understand what I was going through? Not to mention the big black cloud that we call “labor” was hovering entirely too close, and that storm was terrifying enough on it’s own.
But nonetheless, the storm came. It hit HARD, and it hit FAST. It hurt like fucking hell, and I lost entirely too much blood (quick shout out to my awesome midwife who caught, and treated my anemia!), but there he was. My son. My light. The person I didn’t know I had desperately been missing all this time I’ve been tooling about on the planet.
We knew that we would love him more than anything, but neither his dad nor myself were prepared for a feeling that was something akin to having our gravitational orientation to the sun altered. Because that’s essentially what happened. From the moment he rocketed into the world, we stopped behaving like normal humans on a tiny rock hurtling through space, and became completely besotted with the tiny pink piece of paradise that was angrily squalling on my chest. Life wasn’t about us anymore. It was about him. About doing whatever we had to do in order to make sure that he got the best shake possible in this world. Every job I took (or turned down), it was to try to build a life for him. Every day that my hippie worked from before 7:00 AM until after 11:00 in the evening, it was for Eli. Time stopped working the way it is supposed to that day. It became too fast, and painfully slow at the same time, and somehow there was just enough of it.
I am still not ready to be a mother. I still have selfish tendencies. I can freely admit that I know less now than I did before he was born. I still trip over nothing. Frequently. Ice cream and beer for dinner are regular occurrences in our house (for the adults, anyway). I am an actor, and have learned that I can’t change that, nor should I try. I still like staying up late to watch Netflix in the company of my sister and a good glass of wine, but it’s a rare treat, and I cherish those moments. The hippie and I occasionally have a night out together, but do you know what we do almost the whole time our little man is with whomever is watching him for us? We talk about him, and stare at whatever pictures I’ve taken of him that week. Don’t worry, we’re still passionate about each other, and other things in this life, but… well… He’s just so great, we can’t help it! I am still one of the only moms my age in my little community, but you know what? I have had a number of women tell me that they are a little less scared of motherhood because of the trail my little family has been blazing. THAT was humbling, lemme tell you.
All this to say, I’m not perfect. Eli didn’t somehow transform me into a flawless mama over the past year. If you are looking for a young mom to write the next best selling guide on raising tiny humans, I’m not your girl. But what he HAS done, is remarkable. He has learned to clap. To wave. To make people laugh when they feel like crying. To play peek-a-boo. To perfectly time a lunge for your food so that he gets a bite when you aren’t looking. To GENTLY pet the cat. To make his parents forget how tired, and stressed they are. To do puzzles. To take off his pants while I’m distracted. To crawl. To walk (almost). To love with his whole self. And do you know what, dear reader? His mom and dad learned (or re-learned) how to do all these things right along with him.
It has been one heck of a year. And it has been amazing. Happy Birthday, little man! We love you more than anything in this earth.