Monday, February 18, 2013

Unscathed... Sort Of

One of my greatest fears in raising my son (and any future children we might have) is passing on my (many) neuroses.  I inherited so many of my parents' problems.  So many undesirable familial traits that our brown eyes and thin wrists are, in the cafe of genetics, drowned out by the din of phobia, depression, addiction, walls built so high and thick that the few who tunnel in are usually sorry they did.
It's recently struck me since having a child that my personal attachment to these neuroses is waning.
I realized this change while listening to Bjork's song Hyperballad, the lyrics of which I had never given much thought:
We live on a mountain
Right at the top
There’s a beautiful view
From the top of the mountain
Every morning I walk towards the edge
And throw little things off
Like:Car parts, bottles and cutlery
Or whatever I find lying around
I go through all this
Before you wake up
So I can feel happier
To be safe up here with you
(lyrics posted entirely without permission)
Besides our fantastical, magical wardrobes, Bjork and I apparently have something in common.  We psych ourselves up for the day for our kids, for our families. We shake off the nasties and pull ourselves up by the old bootstraps because nobody wants a crazy mother despite how appealing her craziness made her toward boys at nineteen.
I feel that I usually do a pretty good job of this.  The fact of the matter is: I am not one of those cooing, adorable moms who revels in playgroup and layette clothing.  I hope Oliver loves me for these characterisitcs and not in spite of them, but if he doesn't, you know, kind of oh well.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Heart to Heart

Every day of motherhood, at least so far, is different. Some are so good I feel almost as triumphant as I did when they first plopped Oliver onto my chest and I knew I had done it. But those days wouldn’t be so great without the converse: the sleep-deprived, rainy, shit-on-your-clothes days when you’re begging an infant, please, just tell me what to do. I’ve found, though, that despite the insistence that I’d forget childbirth — the “so the species can go on” half-joke that serves only as one of many sexist scare tactics pregnant women and mothers face — what I’m forgetting instead are those regrettable, difficult why-won’t-you-end days, in favor of the wins.

Over the last 7 months, I’ve gotten to know myself in a different way. I’ve become less self-conscious in order to be present with my child. I’ve made stupid faces and funny noises and sung in public and been (mostly) unconcerned with how I look to all but one little person. I’ve changed my expectations, let my sleep, my free time and my body be temporarily hijacked. And, you know what? I’m doing a good job. He’s a happy, loving, trusting, communicative, confident boy. Not afraid to make friends with strangers, proficient signer who’s finding his words, giver of unsolicited kisses, giggler and enthusiastic try-er of anything.