CJDaily's Blog

May 11, 2009

Happy Mother’s Day

Filed under: Uncategorized — cjdaily @ 1:47 am

Mother’s Day.  A day created to remind us to honor and celebrate our mothers.  Also, a day in which gift-giving is mandatory, and the cards we fill out are required to be heartfelt, emotional, and if possible, full of groveling and obsequious thanks for not killing us in our adolescent years.  Or, as I sometimes threaten my daughter, selling her on Ebay if she throws one more toddler tantrum.  Some days, I’d even toss in free shipping. 

I love my daughter; do not mistake me for a moment.  She is the most precious thing in my life.  She is also the source of my increased drinking and sudden interest in prescription pills.  Sometimes, when your 18-month old is screaming in her high-chair, kicking her legs like she’s the world’s smallest, angriest Rockette, and flinging all the food on her tray into the chandelier, all you can really do is sit back, take a deep breath, and pour yourself that second glass of cabernet.  Or third.  Whatever, I’m not judging. 

Everyone tells you becoming a mother is the most amazing experience in the world.  It really is.  What most expectant mothers fail to realize, however, is that the word “amazing” does not necessarily mean “super-fun.”  Here’s a little example for you, as best as I can put it.  When Moses parted the Red Sea, I’m sure all the Israelites were like, “Dude, that was amazing,” (or however you would say something like that in Hebrew.)  But I’m sure it was also mind-numbingly terrifying, and impossible to wrap your mind around.  I mean, giant walls of water rising into the sky, and the sea floor laid bare in front of you?  I’d probably have been that chick in the back going, “Wait, maybe slavery wasn’t such a raw deal after all…”  But the Israelites just walked on through, ‘cause that was their only option.  Frankly, I’d have been peeing in my robes checking out the sharks swimming vertically to my left as I traipsed on over to the Promised Land.  But as scary as it was, as impossible to understand what was happening, they just did it, and trusted that nobody was about to die and everything would work out in the end. 

That’s what being a mother is like.  Somebody hands you this fragile little baby and says, “Ok, go take it home.  Good luck!”  And you’re like, “Wait, don’t I have to pass a test first?  Just because I happened to give birth to a baby, I get to keep it, no questions asked?  Doesn’t anyone know I have NO IDEA WHAT THE HELL I’M DOING?”  And then you take that baby home and everything is a simple matter of getting through one hour to the next.  The next morning, if everyone is still alive, it’s a small miracle, and one that will not get old for about a year or so.  I used to sneak into my daughters room when she was asleep in her crib just to make sure she was breathing.  (And then to sniff her head like I was a crack-head, and baby-head-smell was my drug of choice.)  By the time her first birthday rolled around, I was so astounded that she’d made it through without any disasters that I finally started thinking that, just maybe, I was doing okay at this mothering thing.

My friends always ask me what it’s like having a baby.  And there’s really no way to explain it.  Does it hurt?  Hell yeah it does, but I’m starting to forget exactly how.  It’s more like being the most uncomfortable you will ever be in your entire life.  Undoubtedly, our bodies are equipped with special memory-erasing powers that kick in over time, blurring out the facts and leaving you with a vague memory of a lot of puking, a lot of pushing, and the kind of bloody scene you’ve only ever witnessed on Grey’s Anatomy.  (My advice: Never look down.)  I mean, there’s no way to make it sound like something fun, but people have more than one kid all the time, so there must be something that keeps us going back for more.  Maybe it’s the little tiny clothes.  I was in Carters the other day and saw little onesies so precious I was almost convinced I’d want another one someday.  Maybe it’s when you see other people’s little babies, sleeping and sweet, before they get all alert and demanding.  Maybe it’s because you want your kid to have a playmate so that you don’t have to be the one playing endless games of hide and seek. 

Whatever the reason is, motherhood is amazing.  Amazing in a way that means all the rules are suddenly erased from your life and you are handed a whole new set of priorities.  Your schedule changes, and keeps changing every time you think you’ve finally got it down pat!  Your expectations change.  Your idea of success changes.  It probably used to be doing well at your job, or playing a fantastic game of golf.  Now, it’s remembering to shower.  Your house will change.  Your body (oh yes) will change.  The very way you look at life will be different. 

I can sum it up like this.  If somebody told you to jump out of a plane, with no parachute, and that you’d fall for a long time before hitting the ground in a tremendous crash that would leave you permanently physically and mentally altered, would you do it?  If they told you, yes there would be pain, but it would go away, and instead you’d land in a brand new world where nothing was what you expected it to be, and has highs and lows that will take your breath away with their intensity, would you do it?  If they said that there would be less time for what you want to do, less sleep than you’d like, more stress than you’ve ever imagined, but more love than you could ever possibly hope for… would you do it?

If someone had told me all that, probably not.  But knowing what I know now?  Would I do it all over again, just for one day in that strange land with my daughter?

Absolutely.

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