This wasn’t my plan.
Growing up, I never wanted children. I was the oldest of five kids (at my dad’s house) and sneered at all things mini-van. I knew exactly how much work it took to raise a child. My younger sister was born when I was 14 years old and a little brother joined her when I was 17. Our home was filled with spit up, formula, blankies, and tearful faces with snot filled noses. It appeared that there was not a maternal bone in my body. I did think that my little siblings were cute…but they weren’t for me.
Flash forward 20 years and I have two car seats and two (gasp!) diaper genies in my house and I never knew that love could feel this way. Perhaps I am high from lack of sleep and over use of caffeine…but I think my two little snot noses are the cutest people on the planet. Who knew that I could spend hours staring at a sleeping baby or cherish every little misshapen craft item that my 3 year old brings home from pre-school. Their hearts beat for me and mine for them. I am Mom.
It’s rarely easy.
My heart just bled this weekend at a friend’s birthday party. Morgan was afraid to go into a bounce house with bigger kids and spent most of the party with his two arms crossed and the saddest look on his face. His bottom lip jutted out and quivered with suppressed misery. He wanted courage so badly! I tried getting into the bounce house with him and he climbed me like a monkey. Like his mom, he hates to surrender control and it was chaotic inside of that brightly colored structure. It must be hard to weigh 24 lbs and be at the mercy of bigger and heavier kids bouncing you into the air and knocking you down. He begged to get out and we stood for a very long time at the net gazing in.
I couldn’t fix it. I couldn’t make it ok for him. I had to watch his sadness and be rebuffed every time I tried to soothe him. He threw his craft on the ground, he shouted at me to go away and he ran from me, tripping and falling into a fence. He refused all comfort that I tried to offer. My mom was here and she kept telling me to leave him alone and let him find his way, but that just isn’t who I am. Every cell in my body wanted to go to him and I was poised like an arrow leaning towards my little guy…wanting with every fiber of my being to scoop him up and make him smile.
Finally, a car arrived and a young man got out with balloons, brightly colored birds, and a magic show. I watched my little guy ease closer and closer to the action. His arms began to relax from their tensely crossed position and the corners of his mouth eased slightly into a beautiful smile. I heard the music of my sweet boy’s laughter when the magician told a funny joke. I heard his gasp of wonder at a cool trick and his squeal of delight when balloon animals emerged from the young man’s capable hands.
Morgan left the party smiling, with face paint and a balloon hat and chocolate frosting in the corner of his mouth. I was dizzy with joy that something had finally made him happy. It made me realize that there will be much harder days ahead for my little guy and that I could not fix all of his troubles with sheer will. He will have to cry sometimes and he will have to be sad and have to fail. It’s a bitter pill to swallow.
Color me surprised. I am a mama after all.