Saturday, May 17, 2014

Happy birthday, Collin.

Dear Collin,

Holding you while you fall asleep is a gift I have never taken for granted. You made me a mother, you brought me to my place in this world.

I love when you dramatically sing songs from your favorite movies, and the way  you pronounce chocolate (sockwit) makes me want to give you every piece of my secret stash. One day, you will probably be a parent. You will know what it feels like to hold a brand new life in your arms and love so completely, it makes every wound in your soul heal, and you will understand what unconditional love really means. I hope you have a baby like you. I hope you have a child who snuggles like you do, with a sense of humor as sharp as yours, a light as bright as yours.

I love that you're the life of the party wherever we go. I love the way your heart is like a great big ocean, with room for everybody. I love that you came into this world knowing exactly who you are.

I can't wait to watch you grow up, but I hope you never change. I hope you always keep your spunky spirit. I hope you never lose your imagination, or your knack for making friends. You were born with the gift of bottomless joy, and you spread it around to everyone you meet.

Thank you for choosing me to be your mother. You are my first baby, my treasure. You are my loving, patient teacher. You are my forever friend.


Sunday, May 11, 2014

We are mothers

Even if we aren't friends, even if you don't even know me outside of the internet, I hope, through my words, you feel like you know me. Because when I tell my story, I'm telling your story. If there's one thing I've learned from motherhood, it's that we're all the same, at heart. We're all overwhelmed and maxed out and exhausted, and we get out of bed in the morning and do it all over again because we love our children. We love our children, and until the day we die, we will never stop trying to do right by them. That is the common thread that weaves us together.

This blog is like my confessional. I bare my soul to you, my reader. Why? Because ever since I started blogging, friends have told me that I put words to what they feel. How, then, could I be anything but honest? How could I hold back? I feel inspired to write candidly because I know that if just one other mom can relate to me and feel less alone, I've done a great service.

  So, for Mothers Day, here is my love letter to you:

Dear Mama,

You are doing just fine. Every time you lose your s***  after the hundredth time of repeating yourself to your toddler- you're doing just fine. Every time you pretend not to smell the poopy diaper because you just don't have the energy to wrangle a diaper change- you're doing just fine. Every time you hand your kid your cell phone/ sit your kid in front of the TV so you can catch just FIVE MINUTES of peace- you're doing just fine.

Being a mom is the best, and also the hardest, thing you will ever do. At times, you will feel inept and overwhelmed and incapable- you're not. Nobody can do a better job of raising YOUR child than you. You were made for this.

If that doesn't help, my kid actually ate cookies for dinner the other night. So, chances are, you're probably doing better than me.

Happy Mothers Day.



Saturday, May 3, 2014

The way things are.

Sometimes I think, as I haul my screaming toddler to the car with a baby strapped to my body, that people probably feel sorry for me. Maybe they even pity me. And you know what? That's ok. I would rather be pitied than judged. I would rather people recognize that I'm an insane person, just trying to control the chaos, than a bad mother with a bad child.

Because, boy, has my child been... we won't say "bad," because he's not. But he's been challenging. Like it should be when your whole world has dramatically changed.

Let me tell you how its been going since H went back to work:

The first week- it was fairly difficult, but I was filled like a balloon with false confidence. I had an activity planned for every day. I was active in Collin's homeschooling, and Upsherin planning. I felt like I had this motherhood thing DOWN.

The second week- I was flattened. Monday came around and I sort of went, "Wait, what? You mean I have to do this again? FOREVER??" I was exhausted. I was depressed. I passed out the minute the kids went to bed at night. I watched Frozen and A Bug's Life multiple times a day because it meant I could get away with sitting on the couch, and it guaranteed at least five minutes of quiet.

The third week- Sibling adjustment was in full swing. Collin went through his days with both guns drawn. It was war. He is feeling very angry right now, mostly at me, and I felt it all week. Every day was a count down until Daddy came home. But, strangely, it felt easier than the second week, and I think that has to do with me. I'm feeling a little more confident. Real confidence this time, the kind you only get from life experience. You have to fall on your face before you know what you're made of.

By the way, I'm still on my face. But, I feel like, six months from now, I'm going to be a completely different person.

I'm so humbled by the way motherhood changes you. And, I'm learning, you are changed completely the second time around, just as you were the first. You bend, you stretch, you grow. You go into your cocoon and come back again, something else. You draw strength from places you didn't know strength was hidden, so you can be strong enough for your children.

I once heard of second time motherhood described as a passage from one of my favorite children's books, The Velveteen Rabbit. It was the part that describes what "real" meant, as the Velveteen Rabbit was a toy who wanted to be real. Becoming a mother again was related to being "made real."

"Your eyes are loved until they fall out. Your fur is all loved off."

Something like that. It said that the first baby made you a mother, but the second baby made you Real. It's true. It's all true. And I feel very Real.