I often write of the wonders of childhood. How a child's life is made up of fragile combinations. The irresistible upward motion of precariously stacked building blocks. The smooth symbiosis of peanut butter and jelly.The glory of playing in the rain, but the chill of the wind that follows.
Today, I write of the fragile combinations of Motherhood.
Five and a half years ago, I was completely unaware of the changes that take place in one's life when they bring children into the world. I now understand that my ideas of parenthood were full of blind optimism.
When most people begin the process of having children, it always begins with one simple statement:
I want to have a baby.
On the sixth day of March in the year 2006, I took a pregnancy test at 2 o'clock in the morning and saw two pink lines. There I sat in my bathrobe, on the toilet in my tiny bathroom...wearing the VW bug househoes that my brother had given me three Christmases prior; I was crying and thinking to myself, "I'm going to have a baby."
That's right, folks. I was going to have a baby. With all of the infinite and worldly knowledge I had acquired by the ripe age of twenty-one... I was going to have a baby.
Here's where the fragile combinations of Motherhood begin: Yes, I was going to have a baby. I was going to have a baby that would keep me up at night, and drain my finances. I was going to have a baby that I would later nickname ,"Hurricane Abigail" because of the havoc she wrecked on my body.
Yes, I was going to have a baby, but babies grow. Quickly.
The first year of parenthood went by in a blur of diapers, spit up explosions,unpaid bills, and sleepless nights. Before I knew it, we were celebrating Abby's first birthday, and I was thinking to myself, "I want to have another baby."
I was two years older, and had an entire year of parenting under my belt. However, I was still operating under the notion that babies don't grow. In my blind optimism of being a new parent, I pictured my children staying small forever.
I want to have another baby. Thus, Samuel Ryan was born in July of 2008. After an exhausting pregnancy, and an excrutiatingly painful delivery, he had arrived...and he was the ugliest newborn baby I have ever seen in my life.
Another example of the fragile combinations of Motherhood: Mothers have an infinite amount of love for their children, regardless of how ugly they are the first time they see them.
I want to have a baby.
A single, declarative sentence that has been the precursor to countless lives. I was blithely unaware of the fragile combinations of Motherhood until yesterday.
A dear friend of mine lost a child in an automobile accident. Her son was thiry years old.
I sat on her couch with her, held her hand and realized that even with the difference of our ages, and the gap in our years of parenting children... We had more in common than I realized.
We are both mothers.
We both uttered one sentence that would irrevocably change our lives forever; I want to have a baby.
We are tied together by our journey through this life as mothers to babies who don't stay babies forever. Babies who grow too quickly, leave home, make their own lives and have children of their own. Babies that sometimes leave this world before we're through raising them.
Yesterday, when I was talking with my friend, I told her that Abby asked me if she could walk into school by herself and that it had killed me. My friend looked at me and said, "You know, my boy always wanted to walk himself into school. I know it was twenty five years ago, but it feels like it was yesterday."
The fragile combinations of Motherhood. The cool softness of a baby's elbows that are too quickly roughened by playtime scrapes. Spending your life teaching your child skills to help them gain their independence, and then weeping like an infant when they tell you, "Mommy, I can walk into the school by myself." Wishing for just two minutes of quiet when they are young and rowdy and the house is too small, only to find yourself twenty-five years later....hoping to see them walking through your front door to visit.
We mothers have more in common with one another than we realize. The fragile combinations of Motherhood bind us together. Forever.