Saturday, 10 May 2014

A Dozen (p)Roses For Mother’s Day—er—Make that A Dozen Lines of Prose on Mother’s Day

A Mom for almost 17 years! How can that be? And yeah, I know that in the big scheme it’s not a long stretch, yet…how did I go from buying sleepers to shucking away money for a grad gown?
Older, wiser moms are right when they say time flies from birth to launch.  Are correct too when they say that ‘every age will be your favorite age’.  In my short career as Mama / Mommy / Mom (and most recently ‘Chief’, a title that makes me sit a little straighter) I’ve learned a few truths too:

  1.  The depth of your love is bottomless and blinding—and love at first sight is not some cliché cranked out by romance writers. It happens the instant newborn eyes, brand new yet impossibly wise, find yours. The capacity of your love will shake you. So will...
  2. The capacity for your rage. This, my friends, is scary. When someone wounds your baby—verbally, emotionally, God forbid physically—your reaction makes full moons and werewolves or open coffins and pallid vampires seem tame. And more welcome, incidentally, to anyone on the receiving end of your wrath. And yet…. 
  3. You can’t fix all their hurts and likely shouldn’t. Your babies (and make no mistake, they are always your babies) are on their own journey upon this bouncing ball we call Earth, and bubble wrapping them won’t allow them to learn, to grow, or to develop the scar tissue it takes to survive. Helping them in this arena hurts them. A tricky truth that’s easy to understand, harder to put into practice.
  4. Poop, puke, and pee aren’t as disgusting when they come from your own kid (hey; I said TRUTHS, not profundities).
  5. Elation and agony can be felt simultaneously—and anyone who has ever given birth can attest to this. But here’s the thing: this incongruence never ends. Every milestone is a mini-birth, a process of your child both coming and going—not from a literal womb but certainly from safety to independence as they grow. And these milestones will always move them further away from you. So as you exalt in their emerging abilities you silently weep, for as they move on, they move away. As it should be.
  6. That you still love them at their most hateful—and feel shamed and saddened that they, in turn, still love you at your most hateful.
  7. That fishy crackers are ghastly (even if you’re starving) yet all kids gleefully gobble them.
  8. That you wish baby pictures were magical in a way that would allow you to reach into them, pull out the infant version of your seventeen year old, your thirty year old, your fifty-six year old, and cuddle them as the babe they once were. Breathe in their baby scent of brand-new and feel their powder soft skin on your cheek.
  9. That you can be feeling like a complete failure until a grubby little fist presents you with a droopy dandelion. Suddenly you’re a queen with a bouquet of gilded lilies.
  10. That kids really do prefer wieners to steak, and not only that, but—
  11. They believe you are the Best. Cook. EVER (even if your culinary skills are mediocre or altogether missing).  You amaze them. They have you on quite a pedestal. And so ….
  12. One day you will just be their memory and your absence—yes, yours. You—will be bigger and more painful than they think they can bear.
And that’s where the rubber hits the road.  Knowing that you’re important in a way that exhilarates you…even as it scares you to death.  And as I reflect on that particular truth, I hope, really hope, that even on the days when I’ve written a gazillion cheques for a gazillion activities, packed lunch kits, washed clothes, said yes to some stuff, no to others, been on the receiving end of baleful eyes, burned by furious glares, heard giggles, sass, lame jokes and had sticky-hands hugs, that I will always, on each and every of those exhausting, wondrous, perfect days choose, above everything, to revel in them as  Happy Mother’s Days.

Postscript:  "Love is, in fact, transformative".  As a clinical social worker with a practice in addictions, I have a special interest in brain plasticity - intelligence growth, behavior adaptation and extinction, the whole works.  So when I saw the following article today, on mothering, oxytocin, and the brain connection between infant and mama, I was inspired, particularly by this quote: "...mothers who “gushed” the most about their babies showed the most brain growth. This groundbreaking study proves that adult brains are neuroplastic—and validates conventional wisdom that love is, in fact, transformative."

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