As Colin cried from his car seat in the back, letting out steam and venting after a very stimulating day, on the way to pick my Husband up from work, (we're a one car family) I fumbled with the radio dial and hit the soft rock station.
As the soothing tones of Colbie Callait and someone else thrummed through the speakers, I sang along. It was a song I was somewhat familiar with from listening to it before but, I picked up on the beat and harmony easily and sang along. One bar in, Colin had quieted, listening to his Mommy's voice as we drove. It reminded me of my own Mother and the car rides we took together.
From as early as I can remember, my Mother sang. I remember her singing to the radio, most often to soft rock songs and ballads as she executed chores and errands that a Mother does. I remember being near my Mother, drawn to her during the times she was focused on chores and errands, humming and singing along to music as she worked. The calm and intent she radiated as she scrubbed a dirty dish clean, swept crumbs off the floor or drove through hectic traffic, wove a spell over me. Her sometimes off key but heartfelt singing communicated that, no matter what was going on, all was okay.
As I sang to the radio, letting myself feel and go as I drove while my Son cried, tingles and tears washed over me, remembering my Mother, remembering the way she made me feel, doing the same for my Son. Soothing Colin with my voice, letting him know that, while I was not in his sight, I was near. Soothing a baby is rewarding and frustrating. I have four brothers and sisters and loads of experience when it comes to babies and sometimes, I'm STILL at a loss when it comes to MY Son.
The fingers of my old life, (you know, the one where I earned a paycheck and had duties and created spreadsheets and spent an hour or so emailing) pressed into my neck, reminding me that it was there, reminding me that I sometimes miss it. I think about the times that Mark and I could go out, have dinner, drinks and roam the night.
Eleven months later, I find that I still get caught up in missing the way my life was before Colin was here but, don't mistake me, I LOVE my child. Colin is my halo of sunlight. When Colin wakes up in the morning, rubbing the sleep from his wide, changing eyes with his chubby velvet hands, pearl pink skin and smiles at me to say, "Good Morning Mommy! I love you! I'm happy!" from the pure soul that radiates from within, it's all I can do not to weep and crush him to me in a hug so fierce with love and joy.
As the day wears on and, the pre-nap crankies start, I inwardly sigh and remember when the pre-nap crankies came from grown men I called, asking where their paperwork, that was needed for payroll, was.Wait a minute. Why am I complaining? Oh yeah...
I get frustrated, not having a schedule, not having expectations, having what was blissfully, gratefully habitual change up on me a mere two months after I got used to what it was. It's hard to go from two, three hour naps a day with a bed time of eight and a solid sleep of ten hours from a baby who sucked his thumb and self soothed to a baby who got a cold, couldn't breathe from his nose and now sleeps with us nightly. He changes more than that too though. He walks, he emotes, he remembers. He wants stimulation beyond the walls of our home, he wants to explore, he becomes bored and...and...and...I get frustrated, I feel guilty, I feel like a failure.
I started taking Colin to these play groups, Mother Goose Story time at the local library, a free Kindermusick class, Baby and Me and, he enjoys them. He is reticent and observant during, watching and assessing while action is happening but, he is engaged. Afterwards, he's talkative, chipper, happy.
I thought about Mother Goose Story Time, Kindermusick, Baby and Me and how it didn't take me long to pick up the song that was being sung. I picked up the words, the beat, the rhythm and rhyme like I had always known it after the first bar. I thought about how I danced with him, moving him around, not aimlessly but with artistic purpose. I thought about how he watched and listened, played and learned in the same ways that I did, that his Father told me he does.
I thought about how i've learned more about crocheting, sewing, crafting and cooking. I've thought about how all those church gatherings and school classes have culminated to provide me with a sense of self now that I have a child.
I was intensely focused on career, feeling hopeless drudgery looming and sucking away at the vibrant part of myself and now, I have a child who reminds me and calls upon the things that I loved the most. Some of us are lucky enough have careers that we find joy in and, some of us, (like myself) are always searching, never finding and, even when we find, have trouble believing and realizing that we found it.
I did, finally. Again.
Throughout my life, throughout the whims and fancies of a girl who wanted to be a veterinarian, nurse and Broadway star, the one thing that remained that meant the most to me was, to be a Mother.
I got so caught up on lists, rules, advice, pretensions, preconceived ideas, fears and worries that I forgot that I built my life, learned skills and loved to culminate one day in Motherhood.
It was my greatest purpose once and, it truly is now. It's not what I always dreamt it would be. It's not the perfect fantasy or, dreams of my imagination. My Son is a real person, an individual with desires and drives that make him unique in this world, like every person born. We are not the same, even if we say we are or, try to be. Behind my Son's eyes is a mind, a world of possibility, dreams, wishes, hopes and love that are like little seeds germinating, growing and blooming into a person who will walk among us, influence people around him, take his part in the world.
As a Mother, I have the opportunity to help shape and love this tender little being into someone who has the potential to make a great positive impression on those he meets and touches. My actions, my efforts, the skills and talents I possess all contribute to who he may become.
Knowing that such a delicate, wondrous, eternally beautiful soul is in MY hands to nurture and foster is daunting, humbling and fearsome.
His smile, my heart and the love and faith of my Husband carry me through and remind me always, tomorrow is another day, every moment counts, take a breath or two, move on and love. Yes, yes, yes, LOVE. Laughter at LEAST once a day. Games as often as possible. Chiding at a bare minimum. Learning with joy. Feeling it all out, most of all. I have always been ruled by my heart and, while it has sometimes failed me because I am human and passionate, I have never strayed far from the path of light, goodness and love. It carries me through, it touches my Husband and reaps from him gratitude, it will lay hands on my flesh, my Son and sanctify and bless his life with music, art, history, joy and passion.
All that I was, I am. All that I was, all that I am, I give upon waking, throughout the day, in the soft fingers of the dusk and the deep of the night. I thrum with life, and I give that song to my Son.
3 months ago