My sweet Sunshine, you are currently rifling through a box full of spices in the kitchen, tasting some containers before dropping them at your feet, while others are tossed over your shoulder without so much as a cursory glance. I’m not certain of your criteria, but you do seem to have a system. I love to watch you explore–touching and tasting absolutely everything–cataloguing your environment with the precision and care of a scientist.
I folded and put away most of your nine month footies today because the necklines are beginning to stretch and your tiny toes are pressing uncomfortably against the feet. It hurts every time–putting away bits of the present that somehow, without my noticing right away, became the past. It is so strange that these moments which are molding and redefining me as a person and a mother, you will not remember.
You will not remember how I shrieked with joy when you took your first, wobbly steps or how I cried in relief and squeezed you tight after fishing that wad of drool-soaked paper out of your mouth. You will not remember crawling around the yard, picking dandelions and trying to eat pebbles under my watchful eye. You will not remember dancing in front of the oven door, giggling at your reflection. You will not remember the way you turn diaper changes into the baby version of a greased pig contest. You will not remember throwing all the spices out of the box. And you will not remember your silly mama, sitting at the kitchen table, crying while she writes you love letters from your babyhood.
And oh how I love you, my baby. Though our time together this way is short, one day, in the not so distant future, we’ll be making memories you can keep. Until then, I will continue writing (and crying) you a path back through the years to the curious, determined, and much-loved baby you are so that while you may not remember, you can at least have a glimpse of your sweet, small self through your mama’s eyes.
Some of us have c-sections
and some of us labor.
Some of us do not have epidurals
and some of us do.
Some of us give birth
and some of us become parents in other ways.
Some of us put together nurseries
and some of us make room for our babies in our beds.
Some of us bottle feed and
some of us breast feed.
Some of us sleep train
and some of us are sleep trained.
Some of us go to work to provide
and some of us stay home to provide.
Some of us use cloth diapers
and some of us use disposables.
Some of us make up our minds
only to have them changed by experience.
And some of us make up our minds
only to have them changed by circumstance.
Some of us do a little bit of all these things.
Others across the world do very few.
Yet, even with the varied paths we take,
we are the same–
Bonded across oceans of difference
by our incomparable love
for our children.
My favorite thing about her ability to crawl and stand up is watching her choose where she would like to go and what she would like to do when she gets there. She used to be limited to where we put her or what toys we presented her with, and now another layer of her personality is coming through.
My least favorite thing about her ability to crawl and stand up is that there are now roughly 10,762 new and exciting ways for her to accidentally maim/injure/kill herself. I have nicknamed her “suicidal octopus” because I swear she has eight, lightning-fast arms and they’re all reaching for something dangerous!
We are getting closer to the end of nursing and I’m both excited and sad. On one hand, I will be SO happy to be able to wear whatever I want without thinking about how hard/easy it will be to nurse in. On the other hand, because my wild child is always on the go, nursing time has been our snuggle time and I wonder if/how she will snuggle when there’s no need to stop and snack in my arms.
I think about my parents all the time. Having a child of my own puts an entirely different spin on so many of my memories. Like when I was twelve and I was riding my horse bareback, with a bridle I made out of baling twine and jumping the irrigation canal/all the irrigation pipe in the field. If I remember right, my dad was supposed to be watching me, but he had to go handle a work emergency so mom came to pick me up. She was terrified of horses and I remember seeing her white knuckles on the fence as we thundered up the way. I have always thought that story was hilarious. Now I can actually imagine the worry and fear she must have felt that I would be hurt. To my mother’s credit, she did not punish me; she signed me up for jumping lessons. : )
Another hilarious thinking of my mom moment came when I was exiting the restroom and passed a woman and her young son going in together. It struck me for the very first time that my mother actually taught me to use the bathroom!!!! Thanks, mom. : )
I am so happy to finally be in a permanent living space. Every situation we’ve been in since she was born has been temporary. She’s been shuttled across the country multiple times, spent countless hours in the car while we looked for vehicles, then apartments, then houses. She seems pretty happy wherever we are, but I think she’ll feel the difference as we get settled.
A lovely friend sent me a lovely book (The Magic of Motherhood) and though it’s hard to find time to read, my favorite line from the early chapters is, “Your body will be a home to your children.” How very true. My body doesn’t look or feel quite the way it did before my Sunshine came along but there is no place where she feels as safe and comfortable as my arms. No other body will do, it’s only mine that gives her such peace and security–how beautiful is that?
She is swinging in the living room, fast asleep while I sip coffee and write. Occasionally, I look up and her face swings into view. If I had known before getting pregnant just how much I would feel as a mother, I might have chosen another path. It’s frightening sometimes, the depth and breadth of it. What I know now that she’s here is that I’d feel it all a thousand times for just one of her sunny smiles.