I’m trying to wrap up my thoughts about what this past year with M has meant to me. It’s a tall order. The past few days I have been thinking that this is what a “year” feels like (and yes, I walk around singing show tunes in my head sometimes…though I don’t really know this song so it’s a pretty repetitive 14 words).
Five hundred twenty-five thousand six hundred minutes,
How do you measure, measure a year?
Had I known about the sleep deprivation, I might not have pursued parenting. Had I comprehended the unending promise of poopy diapers and dirty bottles, I might not have been up for the challenge. Had I realized I would drive myself mad with the promise of breastfeeding, I probably would have gone to Mexico instead. Had I assumed that I too would be reduced to eating the remains from someone else’s noshings, I might have relished my dignity. Had I noted that even though I lost all my baby weight things would still be “shifted”, I might have chosen my old “new” body. Had I understood feeling utterly helpless watching another being navigate through this world, I probably would have thought my heart couldn’t handle it. Had I taken for granted that I would constantly be riding the wave of protecting and trying to not be overprotective, I might have thought it was too much to balance.
BUT, had I known that I could be utterly sleep deprived and quickly checking photos of her at 4 am before I go back to sleep; or that my humor would save me from the mundane tasks; or that the lightest touch could feel so lovely; or that I would become a person I liked even more than the old, edgy me; or that the slightest action could make my day… had I known how much I would love this little girl, I would have done it much sooner.
In daylights, in sunsets, in midnights - in cups of coffee
In inches, in miles, in laughter, in strife
This first year has been such a gift to me. The present being sheer, delectably elegant time; life unfolding as it should rather than rushing through the days to get it all done. As a mother it makes me happy to watch miss M flourish. As a human, it makes me amazed at what we all subtly achieve every day in our own development. I wish in that sense this utopia would never end. Though I know in my heart that miss M will grow up, that D needs help supporting our family financially, and that I need validation (outside our home life) to be the best partner and mother I can be for them.
This gig is a constant tweaking, a constant checking of self with perhaps no validation about what I am doing. I guess I need to remember that when I think about being a mom. It’s different than being a lover or a friend - experiences that are usually validated by the other person on some level. Parenthood thus far has been a verbally thankless gig. The gratitude comes in watching a smile for the first time, or having little arms wrap around my neck or a hand gently touch my cheek, or barely tangible words that sound eloquent to my ears, or the unsteady balancing of a body on two feet. These moments are what make it all worth it, these and the sheer joy of watching her grow and discover this world we know.
Five hundred twenty-five thousand journeys to plan
M brings me joy in her smile, in her mischievousness, in her delicate touch. She giggles a lot and shares the sweetest temperament. Sometimes when she smiles I am reminded of the little nugget baby Maddie; when she first started smiling all together. She lights it up for me and each morning I try to get what I need to get done, done, so I can greet her with a smile and the time to pay attention during the hours we share. I wonder if she will loose her unabashed enthusiasm for life, for the promise of a new day. If one day she will not shimmer with her energy and I will see a shadow on her heart. The Buddhists say we spend our life trying to return to the innocence of our youth. All of the interactions, the activities we encounter pull us away from our sheer wholehearted embrace of this world. As we approach death I wonder if we get so sentimental or so unencumbered that we return to a mental place that allows for our sense of self to only embrace what has happened, what we know.
It's time now to sing out Tho' the story never ends
Let's celebrate Remember a year in the life of friends
I have confidence that we have a great connection: that I will not try to control her more than what is safe for her growing up; that I might be as beautiful to her as she is to me. At best, I do my best. The rest I expect to meet on the path of my destiny. I keenly remind myself to look and enjoy the view as I follow the path I am on; to introduce the beauty of it to my daughter and find at least a moment of inspiration every day to reflect on. She inspires me to be joyful and to embrace life. We have this time together to love each other wholeheartedly. That is what Miss M has brought to my world this year.
Remember the love.