Me today. 43. Mother. What?? Yes, Sapphire you are a mother now! So what does it change??? How does BEING a mother change MY life??? For one, I no longer hop up and grab my keys and run out the door. Oh my gosh…there are THINGS involved with adding a new little person into the mix. NOW, I have to remember her little diaper bag, make sure it has the goods I may need for the day. I’m constantly, quietly talking to myself…”what’s the weather like? do I need a sweater for her?”, “does she need a hat?”…oh and then there’s ME. Oh yeah…
For two, it’s changed me in the BEST way! I’m softer and rounder too (he he he). New gray hairs and all, but Paloma doesn’t care. For three, when Paloma smiles at me I pretty much melt into a pool of goo on the floor. Why is that?? Weird.
Ya know the amazing part of having a child is the way I look at OTHER women. I’m stunned at how women can do it. Still. I’ve always admired women anyway. But, it’s more of a feeling like “dang, how do you pull that off?”. Sure, women can go to college and get degrees. Own businesses, travel the world….For me it always comes back to that amazing feat of “You gave birth to another human being”. GOOD LORD!!!!!! Exactly. Oh but not just once, but 3 MORE TIMES! I raise my arms and hands in the air as if calling for God directly. “HOW DID YOU DO IT and SURVIVE?”.
Which reminds me that I met 2 women recently that have 4 children each and they frowned when they saw Paloma was NOT being breastfed. I felt like a “bad” parent. Ugh.. One of the ladies couldn’t believe I had Paloma’s ears pierced. She said “I’m going to wait for my baby to grow up and then she can decide if she wants her ears pierced”. Again….Ugh…That’s one thing I’m NOT crazy about is the constant judging “do you make your own baby food?, do you buy plastic diapers? do you bathe your baby in tap water or eco-water? do you recycle the baby pooh for compost?”. Come on…I just want to do the VERY best I can for me and my family. I’m sorry I didn’t “follow” the “PERFECT WAY” to raise a child group. Whew… I wish the questions were more like…”how many times does your baby get hugs, butterfly kisses, raspberry faces?”.
Sweater, n.: garment worn by child when its mother is feeling chilly. ~Ambrose Bierce
Paloma woke up last night screaming. This was a first. I heard her and I JUMPED out of bed to get her. My instincts just said “GET UP”. I hardly even knew what I was doing…all of a sudden I was at her bedside. I picked her up. It sounded like she was choking and couldn’t breathe. I patted her on the back and held her upright for a while. Eventually she was breathing normal again. She had BIG ol’ tears streaming down her face. Maybe she had a bad dream…do babies dream? Well, whatever it was, I was definitely freaked out. So I told William, let’s just keep her in our bed with us tonight. It’s been months since she has slept with us. I don’t think I slept all night, afraid of rolling on her. She on the other hand, slept GREAT!
We’ve been pretty fortunate with this round one. A lot of times in the morning I’m the one waiting for her to wake up! I’ll peer over her bed railing and she’s wide awake, waiting and smiling. When I change her diaper in the morning after all night, it feels like a brick! Yuck. Liquid in, liquid out. I still gag when she has a pooh diaper and If William is around he always changes it for me. I love dressing her and trying to put her pudgy arms thru clothing that she is outgrowing. I toss them in the pile of “No longer fit”.
On one of my walks today with her we passed by a neighborhood school. The sign in front said “Now Enrolling!”. I started thinking about the days ahead when she’ll be able to go school. What will it be like? One of the coolest schools my mom enrolled me in when I was about 5, was a place in Phoenix, Arizona where they taught us Yoga and we had to take turns teaching the morning yoga session. It was Kundalini Yoga and we always sang “May the long time sun shine upon you, all love surround you and the pure light within you guide your way on, guide your way on, guide your way on”.
In the meantime while Paloma is growing like an Alice in Wonderland story, we’ll teach her love, gratitude and to be nice to the people with gray hair, or no hair! : )
I never knew I needed her. I never thought that I could feel the way I do. I’m opening this new chapter and seeing myself and people around me in a new light.
I know NOW that I want her. For the past 12 years I’ve been VERY busy. My life has been so full that I rarely just did “nothing”. Even meditating seemed like I put it on my “to do list”. Don’t get me wrong I still create a “to do” list. Mostly of all the things I love, which amazingly enough I’m quite content grocery shopping and chopping vegetables. I love taking care of people. That hasn’t changed. I find myself REALLY enjoying walks to the park with Paloma. Not just a little, but A LOT!! Well, we call them “strolls”, my Godfather pointed out, because she doesn’t walk yet. I used to hurry through my walks and say “okay, walk…check that’s done”. Our friend Jim inspired me immensely. He’s 65 I think and takes 3/30 minute walks a day. So, I have been doing that probably for a month or so. Oh yeah, I have missed a few days here and there. Of course it’s the excercise I’m after, BUT more than that it has become this INCREDIBLE bonding time with Paloma and me!….and the birds and the bees…
I’m sure there are people in their homes saying “oh there goes that woman again with her child for the 3rd time today”. “Doesn’t she have anything else better to do?”. Truth is I LOVE IT! I don’t care. I stop every 100 feet or so and peek in at Paloma because I still can’t believe this is a child of mine. A lot of the time her eyes are WIDE open and she’s checking it ALL out, but mostly she is sleeping after 15 minutes. I stop and stare at her. I can’t help myself.
These are the days I’ll remember after she’s all grown up and on her own. We spent time “strolling”. Not in any hurry to “get it done”…or check it off my “to do list”. But simply to BE with her. It feels SOOOOOO great. I know SHE won’t remember, but she’ll have all these crazy iphone pictures she can go back and look through. Aren’t these amazing times?
I am still blown away that I am a mother. When does it sink in???? Huh? I look at her and think “where in the world did you come from?” For everyone who knows me well, knows that for YEARS I’ve said “no, I am happy the way things are, I won’t be having any children”. Everyone would try and convince me otherwise. “Sapphire, when you have a child, it’s the BEST thing in the world, there’s NOTHING like it!!!”. Okay, okay…Now that Paloma is here I’m waving the white flag. I surrender!! Yep, it’s the BEST thing in the world!!!
The weird thing is…I’m trying to fit into my old self. I feel like I’m knocking on my own door saying “hey, Saph…come on out now”. However, this NEW person has emerged. So, I’m trying to get to know myself. I read a quote from Benjamin Franklin that said “There are three things extremely hard, steel, a diamond and to know one’s self”.
But then what? Is there a lightbulb that goes off and you say…”aha, I KNOW myself NOW!” “I have this ALL figured out”. What fun would THAT be anyway? It has to be a lifelong journey of knowing yourself, maybe I’ll replace the “know thyself”, with…”Do what makes thyself happy!”. I can jump on that bandwagon. Well, perhaps “Always do that which gives thyself joy!” Paloma and I can learn from one another. Obviously this path was not a chosen one…that’s why I can no longer “visualize” that which I want in life, because I didn’t “visualize” this EVER happening. So while I get to enjoy her laugh and the sunshine, I will continue to open up hidden doors inside myself and say “Yeah, how fun to meet you!”.