Three years ago today, at 12:23am, I began the journey known as “motherhood” or “constant worry and disturbing smells.”
Waylon took his time coming out; 24 hours of labor and screams my dad could hear in the waiting room. The whole thing started out sweaty and weird and has continued as such. In the first few weeks I thought anal fissures would be my worst hurdle, but now I have a three year old and know better. Whoever coined the phrase “terrible twos” had clearly never met a three year old.
I do like it for the most part. Kids can be very sweet and charming despite their tendency to wipe boogers on your favorite sweater. I especially enjoy their post bath smells. If you have never been high, just smell a clean baby’s head. It is kind of the same thing.
I knew the most about parenting before I was a parent. You know how it is. Lots of theories and opinions. Then when I actually birthed a human, I realized I know nothing and have maintained my ignorance ever since.
Of course experience does teach you a few things. Like how you can measure a mother’s day by what word she utters when stepping on a toy at 6:30 PM. Or how to effectively remove grape juice from white carpet (move couch, make margarita). But when it comes to the fundamentals of parenting, I stay mum. Every kid is different, every parent is different, every day is different. We do the best we can. In the great words of Maya Angelou, “When you know better–do better.” You can write that one down.
Watching your kids get older is hard. I cringe whenever I hear myself say ” please don’t grow up,” because I should be grateful for kids healthy enough to grow. But recently I’ve realized what I really mean when I say “please don’t grow up” is “please don’t forget.” Please don’t forget these small hands and eager eyes. Please don’t forget the tiny house made of paper clips and blue pinwheel garden. Please don’t forget the weight of a toddler nestled on my body, skinny arms wrapped around my neck.
Last night the three of us sat up talking about the night he was born. All cozy on the porch, watching the lightning and lightning bugs light up the sky.
Please don’t let me forget.
Happy birthday to my first, sweet, impossibly impossible baby. You are loved.
06.26.11 was a good day. Three years later.