Its amazing how much joy and suffering you can feel for one small, but significant person. Andrew has been complaining in the back seat for the last 5 minutes. I totally know he is bored. I can't imagine having to get strapped in to a seat where my feet don't even touch the ground. Not to mention having a crying sister next to me.
We are in the IN N OUT drive thru line. My best mommy self has prescribed a night of fast mexican food and just to make sure our bones stay healthy and strong milkshakes from the coveted In N OUt burgers.
There was a time in my life ( that I sometimes relive) when I believed that it only took a pure heart be a good mom. Borrowing from the Beatles "All you need is love" is the only way to raise a child. Just kill them with kindness and they'll grow up loving you and themselves and never hit other children, never look you straight in your eyes and throw their plate of food on the ground (you can see how the list could continue on). No, a child reared with all the affection in the world their little hearts could hold would be just a little lamb.
Reality hit me hard the first week I try and nurse Andrew--it doesn't just come naturally to me. I pictured myself while pregnant running to my crying baby in my flowing, white silk gown (the most practical new mom outfit) I pick him up and he is immediatlely comforted by my sense of love and milk.
What I discovered after about 2 days of nursing was the fear/dread/panic of needing to nurse again. IT HURT! I would sit and cringe while he began eating. I would tap my foot and hum a song of comfort. I would think to myself, breath, breath, just breath.
I feel overwhelmed with joy for my little boy who is growing up like all kids do. Then there are glimpses in my mind, of me sitting on a beach listening to waves with a pina colada, calmly breathing in the soft humidity. My obligations are gone, I don't have diapers to change, messes to be cleaned up, and my clothes won't have any more spit stains. I dream of a vacation from mommy obligation. When I won't be needed anymore for things.
Andrew then began to pull off and scream when he was about 2 weeks old. His dad and I would try and burp him. He must have an air bubble, he didn't eat enough. One morning at 3am I called my parent's house on the brink of total crying breakdown "Andrew just cries and cries" I apologize for the hour and my dad responds "Thats okay thats why we are here". Mom gives me suggestions and says she knows how I feel just do the best we can.
We've just ordered and Andrew and I are splitting a chocolate shake, his dad gets a vanilla and buggy is still fussing in the back seat overly tired.
I still believe mothering is best when used with unconditional love. I haven't of coarse reached my ripe age of perfection to have required this--I still need quite a few more years on the shelf. However, I have learned that pain is unavoidable in the raising of kids. That just when you think you are too tired to change another diaper you are propped up by your kid needing his "poppy"* (which is andrewlation for puppy) a big ol' kiss.
I roll the window back up that is next to Andrew
I roll the window down, this time without look at him
I roll the window back up.
Our bone reniforcers are ready at the window.
I am beginning to understand not only the reality of what is possible in mothering, but I am discovering that being a good mother takes more than the ushy gushies of love. It will take the rest of eternity.
It takes time to help entertain your unhappy toddler. Not just so you can keep your sanity in the metal kid cage, but because you will learn to love to do those things for them. It brings you joy.