In my earliest days of motherhood, I remember thinking “my mom once did ALL of this for me”. In those early moments, I learned that I was completely misguided about being a mother. I mean, I knew a lot, I read the books, I researched, I talked to other moms, but no one told me REAL things. No one shared that I would hurt for weeks “down there”, or bleed forever. No one shared that my baby would cry for absolutely no reason and that I would cry too. No one let-it-slip that it was so.much.work. Again, I knew it, but I didn’t KNOW it. I was not prepared for the sleeplessness, the messiness, and the schedules. I was not ready for all the crying, all the puking, and all the poop! I worked continuously and my house was still dirty, my dishes were piled, and my laundry was out of control. I think, eventually, I managed well, and figured out some great systems, but it was rough at first. So, I was kind of surprised when I thought about my mom doing ALL THAT STUFF for me.
Of course she did it, happily, she’s a wonderful woman. I think it was such a profound thought to me because that wasn’t the mom I remembered. I have no recollection of the woman who snuggled with me in the middle of the night, warmed my bottle at 3am, and placed her hand on my back to make sure I was still breathing. I don’t remember the mom who sat in a rocking chair singing and soothing her newest little baby. I don’t remember the mom who walked miles around the house with a frustrated infant, who changed my clothes ”just-in-case” I was uncomfortable, or who worried about colic, nursing, or SIDS. I know her now, but I don’t remember that part of her mothering. And, it makes me a little sad that my children won’t remember that part of my mothering either. It’s such a sweet time! They’ll have no idea how much I did for them, how much I loved them, how much I cherished them, and was in awe of them…until they bring home their first little fresh baby bundle!
I have great memories of my mom, don’t get me wrong. It’s just that the mom I remember helped me with my science project, ironed my uniform, and packed my lunch every morning. She took me to Blue Bird meetings, signed me up for camp, and made me practice piano. The mom I remember drove me to movies and friend’s houses. She baked cookies late at night because I forgot to tell her I needed them, she bought me the dress I wanted, instead of the one she could afford. She questioned me, grounded me, and listened to me complain. She said “no”, a lot! She worked hard for me, but it was the tough part that I remember most; instead of that cuddly part when I was innocent and sickeningly sweet.
It’s too bad that babies don’t remember all that is done for them in their earliest years, because if they really understood all it takes to be their mothers, they would be THE BEST TEENAGERS EVER! So, with that in mind, I’m starting now to tell my kids every story I can remember about them as babies. I might even make some stuff up, to really make me out to be special. Hey, whatever it takes!