Tuesday, May 14, 2013

number 8

Eight years ago this week, I was standing at the precipice of something I only thought I knew. I was about to experience something that would forever change my life. Eight years ago this week I became a mom. I get it, trust me. I sound very sappy, and yes, I know there are people who have babies every day who either give them up (for whatever reason) or do not have any attachment to them (for whatever reason). I know that there are moms out there who say that having their children didn’t change them. I think they are the worst liars ever, but let them believe what they will. Becoming a mom, first to Lucy and then to Zoe, completely changed me.

I don’t know if I’d say that it’s all been for the better – I will tell you that I’ve never worried about more things EVER in my life. I don’t know if that part is so great, but the kids are pretty amazing. Eight years ago, I thought I knew what I was getting into. I always said that I wanted kids with Steve because they would be funny and smart and all the good things about each of us. I never considered how my children would also inherit those not-so-good things about us, too. The anxiety. The worry. The part where they have no internal editor and say whatever they are feeling (I can’t imagine where they got that). The part where they feel the need to question…everything.

Also, I’ll be honest. No one told me I’d lose that piece of myself. I can’t place my finger on the exact piece, but something in me has changed so drastically in the last 8 years that sometime I hardly know myself anymore. No one tells you that you internalize all the stuff your kids feel. At first when they are babies, you worry about their sleeping and eating and pooping. And then. And then it becomes more about whether they are being treated well outside of your home. Are they going to be kind to others? What is the bully at school saying to knock at pieces of your little girl’s self-esteem and why is my kid always the target? Am I doing it wrong? It’s one thing to have these internal struggles for yourself, it’s far yet another to have to carry the weight of two children as well.

I can’t say that I wouldn’t change anything about the last 8 years. I wish I could have been more relaxed. I wish I didn’t put my kids under such a microscope. I wish that I had been around more and at school less. These are things that my girls will likely never, ever remember. I know that they will come up with a far longer list of ways that I fucked them up over time. What I wouldn’t change is anything about those two sweet babies. I remember when we brought Lucy home.  I kept looking at her thinking two things: one was, “I can’t believe I made a person!” The second was, “Holy shit. Why did they send this baby home with me? What do I do now?!”  I’m happy to say that I still think about that first part. Human life is pretty amazing. The second part has been what has driven me the last 8 years. Clearly it wasn’t that bad. I mean, I did it again 21 months later with Zoe. I keep trying to answer the “What do I do now?” question. I believe I will for the rest of my life. That’s the beauty and the pain of motherhood, I suppose. 

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