I remember the day you were born like it was yesterday.
Numb from the rib cage down, a curtain drawn over my midsection, and feeling a fair amount of painless prodding, I found myself listening hard for your cry.
Minutes passed and I kept looking to your Dad–his eyes peering out from above the surgical mask–for a sign that you were out. The doctor–likely responding to my anxiety–signaled for us to look across the room at a exam table, where you would be placed.
You were born nearly ten pounds with a full head of hair. Though that was a number of years ago, I still remember the moment you were born like it was yesterday.
Shaking uncontrollably, I was overwhelmed with a flood of emotions: Oh My God, you are finally here. I was happy, scared, humbled, exhausted, proud…Your birth was the most powerful moment in my life.
And amid the utter emotional chaos, I suddenly screamed inside my head: I’m a Mom. Am I ready with this? Nope.
Yes, I would learn how to change your diapers, give you a bath, swaddle you for naps, feed and burp you. But a Mom is more–much, much, more. It’s giving when you couldn’t possibly give any more. And after giving it your all, it’s feeling guilty about the things you’re failing at and are not doing. The day I called my Mother crying for help because you were up all night long, I was exhausted, I felt my mind unraveling… I remember that day like it was yesterday.
When I was your age, I used to think my parents could do no wrong. As I got older, all I did was blame them for everything. In my teens, there were plenty of shouting, slammed doors, loud music, pierced body parts. Being a Mom is understanding my parents’ pain. When you hurt, I hurt. But your pain really does hurt me more. The day you came back from school after that schoolyard fight… I remember that day like it was yesterday.
Being a Mom is experiencing the surreal feeling of looking into my child’s eyes and seeing my own. My mother used to say raising children is like caring for a plant. They require sustenance, different amounts of sunshine, water and food depending on the stages of their life. Yes, this is oversimplification of parenting, but in caring for you, I see a brave, new world through your eyes. The nights we spent in bed sharing stories…I remember those days like they were yesterday.
As you turn another year older, there will be plenty of these moments. Moments like today, when I cry uncontrollably, doubtful that I am doing it right, watching you grow, hoping you flourish.
But that’s because you came from me, little one. Though there have been and will be a fair amount of painful prodding along the way, I will be listening hard to hear your voice.