On a Decade of Motherhood
A couple of weeks ago, I was having coffee with a girlfriend at Milano. A young woman came in with two small chidden: a toddler boy and a girl baby. At one point, we discovered the little boy wandering around the coffee shop, looking for his mom. I remembered seeing her walk by the window earlier, so I grabbed his hand, and took him outside to where she was at her car. She gave me a “it’s really hard having two little kids” speech, and I murmured some words of sympathy, being a mom myself.
But I couldn’t stop thinking about that woman all day. While I would have never left my 2-yr-old alone in a coffee shop to teach him a lesson, or for any other reason, I could totally understand and relate to that woman’s desperation.
My son turns 10 today.
I have only hazy, oxytocin-addled memories of that day, but I can tell you this: I thought I was prepared. I was not.
Being a parent is hard. I still, even now, when he’s 10 (and it has gotten so much easier as he gets older!), sometimes have bad days when I dream about running away and joining the circus. I remember those difficult days when he was a baby, crying, and feeling so inadequate and like I must be the world’s worst mother. And then it would all change with a giggle or some new thing he figured out how to do. I still have days when I look at him and think “I have no idea what I’m supposed to do, here.” And so instead, I give him a hug, or I made him a snack. And yesterday, I got pronounced “the best mom in the world” because I bought him a pool noodle (although, to be fair, it was the kind with a hole in the middle).
Yes, being a parent is hard. But when I think back to 11 years ago, before he chose me and came into my life, I can’t remember what my life was like. Like my hazy 24-hour delivery, it’s there, in my memory. But I can’t connect to it somehow. The one constant in my life over the last 10 years, is him. His shining face, his big blue eyes, his squishable cheeks.
Yes. We have our ups and downs. But at the end of the day, I can’t imagine, even on the worst of days, what my life would be like without him in it. And I know I don’t want a life that doesn’t include him.
Happy Birthday, Michael.
I love you.