Saturday, May 10, 2008

Pre-Mother's Day musings

I just got flowers a day early for Mother's Day! Hooray for red roses, purple irises and yellow lilies. Thanks, William (and David, for facilitating).

Two years ago, I celebrated my first Mother's Day. I don't remember a whole lot about it, honestly. William was about three weeks old, and I hadn't had more than about two hours of sleep in a row since he was born. Maybe three hours a couple of times. Anyway, the day is kind of a blur. I went back and reread my blog entry from that day to refresh my memory and to awwwww over the teeny little little boy that I held in my arms in the pictures. He was wearing a tiny 0-3 month onesie with baseballs and catchers' mitts printed all over it, and he was so little!

Just look at him.

Hard to believe it's the same kid, isn't it?

I guess baseball is the constant. We'll always have baseball.

Anyway, I do (vaguely) remember still sort of being in shock over my new status back then. I realized that I didn't really feel like a mother, but I did feel exhausted and sort of stunned by all the changes that had happened. I knew that I had a child for whom I was responsible, but I felt like I didn't even know all the questions to ask, let alone any of the answers. I felt like I didn't really know this small person very well, even though I knew that I loved him. I didn't really know how I loved him, though, and I felt sort of fragmented--which was due, in part, to exhaustion, but also to my attempts to cope with all these changes that were happening.

In short, I knew I had changed and that I would continue to change, but I didn't really know how it would unfold.

Two years later, I take being a mother for granted. It's just part of who I am now. I'm used to changing diapers and unfolding strollers. I'm used to sippy cups and doctor's visits and board books and car seats. I'm used to William being in my life. I'm used to him being a central part of my life.

Of course, he still changes every single day, so I'm still changing, too. But I feel a lot more certain of my identity right now than I did when that picture was taken in front of my rosebushes one mid-May afternoon two years ago. I am not only a mother, as I have sometimes self-deprecatingly referred to myself because I'm still not working full-time yet. But I am comfortable with being a mother. I have accepted that there will be nights when William wakes up crying and I have to go into his room and soothe him back to sleep. I have accepted that he has needs that only I and his father can meet, but I have also accepted that he has needs we cannot meet by ourselves and must count on others to help us. I have (grudgingly) accepted that he is his own person and I cannot force him to like something just because I like it. I have accepted that this is a process for both of us. I've even accepted the fact that I am always going to worry about him and whether he's okay.

Not that I don't despair sometimes--or often! Heck, how many times have I fretted about him being a wild man at the library or during Kindermusik? How many times have I worried that I'll never get a job again? How many times have I worried that if I do get a job, will we be able to work out a good situation for William? How many times have I wondered if maybe he'll grow out of his asthma, so I won't have to wait anxiously for the wheezing that inevitably crops up when a cold or virus threatens?

But at least I think I know what questions to ask these days. And I know, without an ounce of doubt, that I love my son, and can't even think about my life without him.

Happy early Mother's Day to all you mothers out there.

No comments: