mommying

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“The only love that I really believe in is a mother’s love for her children.” ―Karl Lagerfeld

I never really thought about being a mom too much. I also never thought I’d be a young-ish mom; it wasn’t something I saw for myself for a while.

I definitely never thought I’d be a single mom, but life had other plans for me in that area too. (Hey, next potential boyfriend: I come with an adorable bundle of joy sporting some serious baby blues and an ex that I will never be able to totally ex out of my life… you’ve been warned.)

Although I never thought about these things, here I am – so much for five-year plans, huh? But my daughter has made my life so much fuller and more amazing than I thought it would be at 23.

This happy little girl has taught me more in 6 months than I thought possible. You know when your parents used to say “someday when you’re a mom/dad, you’ll understand”? To a certain extent they just wanted you to stop whining; to an even larger extent, they were totally justified.

Being a parent is kind of weird. You have this little person totally dependent on you, expecting you to know what to do in every situation when in reality, you’re learning just as much about the world as they are.

For your entire life, you’re someone’s daughter. You’re someone’s granddaughter, niece, sister, cousin. These are the relationships that define you as you learn and grow. And then, suddenly, you’re something else entirely. You’re mommy.

You’re suddenly pulled in a million different directions, and you’re conflicted in so many different ways. You want to spend the most time possible with your little one, but you also want to have just a minute to yourself. You want to go to work and have a career but you don’t want to leave the house because you just want to watch them grow. You can’t wait to watch her walk and talk but want her to stay exactly this little forever.

The humbling and sometimes overwhelming part is, just when you get ‘the hang of it’ they’ll hit a new milestone and everything will change. With a new ability comes new dangers, new fears. And although there are a lot of wonderful things to share with them, there will be so many things you can’t protect them from.

All of those concepts made sense to me before but they have a whole new meaning now. It’s equal parts terrifying and exhilarating, and I think most people muddle through by ignoring the terrifying feeling as much as possible.

I’m only 30% sure I know what I’m doing and 100% lucky to have tons of guidance and help. Despite the uncertainties that arise daily, I am so full of joy and love that I can’t even imagine what my life would be like without her.

I never really thought about being a mom, and now it’s one of the few things I think about. I think about diapers and formula and mashed carrots and cute little princess outfits- but much more often, I think about how I was incredibly and amazingly blessed with something I never thought about before.

Sometimes, when life throws you for a loop, it’s the best thing that ever happens to you. My ‘loop’ turned into the love of my life.

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patience is (not) my virtue

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“And sure enough even waiting will end… if you can just wait long enough.” –William Faulkner

They say good things come to those who wait. Too bad I’ve never been a patient person. Exhibit A: I was born 5 weeks early. (Life sounded fun, okay?)

All my life I’ve heard it: Slow down, hang on. Wait a second. Let’s save that for tomorrow. Maybe next time.

Being stuck in traffic by myself makes me completely crazy. Long lines are torture. Slow walkers are my pet peeve. The world is big, there’s a lot to see, and technology has made instant gratification that much more accessible.

Long story short, patience has never been my virtue. The thing is, it’s going to have to become one of my virtues, and quickly.

My due date is in four days, and my daughter does not seem to share my sense of urgency. She’s still hanging out and kicking me in the lungs where I would’ve been wearing those onesies weeks ago. (She already has a nicer wardrobe than me, you would think she’d want to hurry up and wear it. People really like buying baby clothes, by the way.)

Every day she has yet to arrive is a new lesson- in patience, in humility, in love- and I’m assuming that will only continue, most likely for the rest of my life.

I can only hope that patience skips a generation and that I by some miracle acquire some more along the way.

I keep reminding myself to stop wishing the time away. To enjoy what’s right in front of me, every single second of every single day. I tell myself things happen when they’re meant to.

Tomorrow, someone else will be here and someone else might be gone. Tomorrow could be your big break or your rock bottom. Tomorrow could be a first or a last. All there really is, is today.

I should’ve learned this lesson by now, considering all of the goodbyes I’ve had to say and all of the unexpected bits of life that have fallen into my lap. It surprises me that I have to keep learning it, yet here we are. (Did I mention I’m also stubborn?)

“All we have is today” should be my new mantra. I can’t tell if that sounds morbid or hopeful. Maybe it’s a little of both, but I think it is, at the very least, true.

All I have is today, so here goes my attempt to slow down a tad, to be a little more patient and a little more appreciative of the quiet moments, and of the waiting game. There’s nothing wrong with excitement, anticipation, and spontaneity; but there’s a lot wrong with neglecting to enjoy right now.

As our friend Ferris taught us, life moves pretty fast (I never thought I’d be a mom at 23). I’ve got to stop and look around, because I don’t intend on missing anything.

I do believe that good things come to those who wait. Exhibit A: I’ve been waiting for this little lady, and she’s going to be extraordinary.

Two Years in a Blink

It’s been exactly two years. I can still remember getting that phone call like it was yesterday…

Well, first comes the text message, but I think it’s just another scare. I’d gotten this kind of message before, and they’d all resulted in no incident. Just a few days of tense waiting, and then: oh, no, crisis averted, carry on with life. But this time is different. She’s sure.

I ask all the compulsory questions- “Who?” “When?” “But really, are you sure?” “What are you going to do now?”

“I’m on my way. You’re not doing this alone.”

She tries to protest, but I shut her down with one question- “If it were me, would you come?”

Check the train schedule, throw clothes in a bag, desperately ask for a ride to the station. No cash? Three roommates thrust twenties into my hands, and I’m in a friend I’ve grown apart from’s car, breathing deeply and trying not to panic.

“Is everything okay?”

“No, not really.”

“Shit- good luck. I’ll pray for you.”

“Thanks.” I wonder if it’ll help? A quick hug, and I’m out, slamming the door behind me and running to the track.

Waiting on the platform, it starts to hit me. My eyes fill against my will and I’m breathing heavy. Where the fuck is this goddam train? Three minutes late.

Fifteen feet away, two middle-aged women saddled with bright red rolling suitcases and the chatter of a corporate friendship are watching me rock back and forth nervously on my heels. I look at them- “The Amtrak headed to Rhode Island will be coming on this track, right?”

One of them nods quickly, her eyes squinted in concern, but not enough to ask. She continues watching me watch her for a moment and then looks away. Finally, the train’s lights appear down the curve and I get ready to get on.

Hand the woman my ticket and collapse into the first available seat, across from a clearly new couple that eyes me accusatorily, as though I’ve just plopped down between them in their own bedroom. “I’ll move as soon as a seat opens up,” I tell them. They inspect my wild eyes for a moment and return to each other while I try to slow my breathing.

Thankfully, a passenger in the row behind me gets off at the next stop, and I slip into the empty seat. Three hours ahead of me, no one to stare, and plenty of time to panic.This is when I let my eyes overflow. Silently, so as not to attract attention- or worse, questions.

I text her: ‘on my way. be there by nine. love you‘

The reply comes: ‘okay, love you too’

Two years ago, and it seems like yesterday. It was only two days ago I was sharing a slice of pie with that beautiful blue-eyed baby boy. It’s cliché as hell, but Jesus, does time fly.