There are no books, no articles, no manuals, no sage advice from friends or family that can adequately prepare you. No matter how many millions of women have embarked upon this journey before you, no two adventures will ever be alike. It’s a non-stop head long dive into something different every day…
When my son was an infant, motherhood was about crying. His AND mine. His because he was hungry or tired or wanted to be held or put down or had a dirty diaper that needed to be changed or a sock that was too tight or a light that was too bright. Or maybe he just liked the sound. Mine because HE was crying and I worried I’d never figure out the reason and what if I couldn’t stop him and I was so very, very tired and what had I gotten myself into and why didn’t my friends tell me motherhood was so hard and a kind neighbor asked how I was doing, and why wouldn’t he breast feed properly and was he gaining enough weight, and what was that rash on him, and why couldn’t I sleep if I was so tired? Why did I sit instead, anxious and waiting for his next cry and oh by the way, I had post partum depression.
When my son was almost two he threw a mighty tantrum and threw himself to the ground hitting his face on a plastic toy. He cracked his forehead open and for one horrible moment motherhood was all about his disfigurement and the cut that had opened above his eye that looked like another eye oozing blood and OH! MY BABY WAS RUINED! And it happened in the middle of a snow storm and where was the ambulance? Would it ever arrive? It was about the ambulance coming and taking us to the hospital where it was about fear, and would they think this was my fault? It was about stitches and bandages and his smiles and flirtations with the nurses after he was all patched up and then it became about getting home safely through the storm that raged outside.
Last week it was all about starting Kindergarten and what time we would have to leave the house in the mornings to walk to school so we wouldn’t be late and what constituted an appropriate school night bedtime and what to pack for his lunch and what to pack for his afternoon snack and would he make new friends at school and would he measure up to the teacher’s expectations and would he have a lot of homework? It was about filling out paper work and joining the PTA and becoming room mother and reading all of the papers that came home in his backpack each night.
This week it’s about the crayon left in the backseat of my car which melted in the summer heat. It was a red and the color’s soaked in and now it looks like a horrific blood stain and how do I get it out? It’s about his obsession with Star Wars and Harry Potter and LEGOs and fountains. It’s about taking walks and hearing about his day at school, playing on the playground, learning sight words and counting down. It’s about starting soccer on Saturday and taking him to his very first practice and his first time wearing cleats and shin guards and it’s about worrying will he even like soccer, will he get hurt, will he make friends on the team, and will the coach be nice?
Next week will be different yet again. Motherhood cannot be predicted with any certainty beyond knowing it’s about love, it’s about worry, it’s about frustration, and it’s about love again. It’s an over-the-top adventure that cannot be understood until it’s experienced and it’s experienced only as it happens.
This essay was written as part of the September MommaBlogga Group Writing Project.