Facebook just gifted me with a video post I made a year ago on Mother’s Day. Estelle was just 3 months old, and had just started sleeping in a crib next to my bed (which was a big deal – co-sleeping wasn’t working for me). She had just woken up in the video, and was all goofy smiles and soft, adorable squirms.
This year, she will babble “mamamama” in her crib as she wakes up in her own room, and will be standing up, rocking side to side, smashing her stuffed penguin into her sleepy little face with a huge grin when I come in to get her. In 12 months, that little infant in the video has morphed into a tiny humanoid who loves toy trucks and has the most beautiful, sparky smile that wholly consumes my heart every time I see it.
Last year, I was still in new-baby shock on Mother’s Day. This year, I am a total bowl of mush for this kid. I spend a lot of time thinking about how grateful I am for my own Mother, whose experience during early motherhood was so different from mine. My Mom is very career driven, and became a single mother when I was 2. She re-married to a wonderful man when I was in sixth-grade, but for many years, it was just us. During that time, my Mom was an English Professor, and then put herself through Law School and started a successful law career. No small feat for a single mother of an avid swimmer and somewhat reluctant violinist.
As a mother myself now, I can truly appreciate how much she has done for me – for us. We’ve gone through some tough patches mostly related to how different our personalities are, and me being an asshole teenager, which hasn’t always meant smooth sailing. But through it all, she has been my constant. The person who loves me fiercely, responsibly, and without condition. Who else would do that? Mom’s are the best, right?
I remember being 8 or 9, and lying in the sun at the outdoor pool, wrapped in a
wet towel, worn out, draped over my Mom’s body on the cement pool deck. My head resting on her warm, suntanned chest that smelled like sunscreen. I remember lying there and listening to her talk – the soothing sound reverberating in my ear against her chest. My Mom. Safe. Loved. Warm. A moment in time that I can still conjure up in an instant after so many years. That memory will never leave my heart or mind, and someday (a loooonng time from now), when she isn’t here anymore, I know that memory will be a safe place to land when I need my Mom.
The journey into motherhood I’m on with Estelle will look different from my Mom’s experience. I am struggling with the want for a career Vs. the demands of military spousing Vs. wanting another child. Yet, on my second Mother’s Day as a Mother, I can confidently say that being a Mom is about as happy as I’ve ever been. I know that sounds lame to non-parents, I know. To be honest, it sounds kinda lame to me, too…but, here I am, soaking in every smile, every kiss, every first and remembering that this is it. These are the precious moments that I will look back on in 20 years and wish for again. These are going to be some of the best moments in my entire life, right here, right now. So, I’m enjoying the shit out of it (most days).
I hope someday Estelle will be able to dig back into her memory and conjure up a moment in time when she felt my love, warmth, and safety, like the memory I have with my Mom. Moments like those are ones she will carry in her heart forever, long after I’m gone, that will always bring her back to me.
To all the Mom’s out there, Happy Mother’s Day.