I work with a young man who is a new father. At a recent company picnic, his wife brought their tiny baby girl. I looked at that sweet, pink confection and thought……”Whew! I’m so glad that’s not me!”
Don’t get me wrong – I loved being the mother of an infant. I loved feeding him, crawling around on the floor with him, rocking him, and having our own little world; however, I had it easy and I know it. While he had some issues those first two weeks, after that, he slept the night through pretty much from then on. He was only a little fussy when he teethed or was sick. He had a sweet disposition and a very “go with the flow” nature. To balance the scales, any second child of mine would have been the spawn of Satan,
But I didn’t have a demon, I had a sweet, easy baby. I spent most of the first few weeks worrying that the hospital was going to figure out that they had given that baby to a complete idiot who had no clue what she was doing. I was just sure that they were going to realize the error and come get him. I remember when he was just a couple of weeks old. He was screaming and I was squalling right there with him. I felt like a complete failure – I didn’t know why he was crying! Aren’t mothers supposed to know that kind of thing?! My mother chuckled when I shared the cause of my distress. “Why do you think you’re supposed to know that? Mothering is just like everything else – you have to learn how. You’ll get it.” And I did.
I also finally got what she had meant throughout my life when she said that I would understand how much she loved me when I became a parent myself. That’s one of those things that’s just impossible to describe, isn’t it? It’s like explaining color to someone blind since birth. I don’t even know that I’d know how to begin.
Today, my son leaves for his second year of college. I know that I have it easy. Many, many mothers before me have sent their 19-year-olds off to war. Mine is only going to college. Then again, so was Christopher Lane. When Jaegar isn’t with me, I worry. I always have and maybe I always will. Protecting him has been my job for a long time now and, while his leaving is the way things are supposed to be, it’s a long way from easy.
A friend posted this on Facebook this week: “Since the day he was born, the best part of everyday for me has been seeing his face & listening to him talk about anything at all. I moved him into his dorm today and I’m leaving Oxford now. You all said that “when the time comes, you’ll be ready.” Well, I AM NOT! If any of you lying bitches would like to apologize, you can find me at the Peabody Bar for the next 24 hours.”
Save me a stool, Emmy.