Wednesday, August 13, 2014

What I've Learned

I wrote this post for publication in early July, and for some reason I never posted it. So here it is now.

As of 4:26am this morning, I have been a mother for twenty three years. I called the eldest moments ago and we greeted each other on this anniversary of the day we met.

Motherhood is my longest running gig. I've had great days, I've had very less than great days. I am perpetually thisclose to becoming an expert at it; as soon as I think I've gotten it one of my three offspring proves me spectacularly wrong.

The one lesson I've learned over and again?

1.I know nothing.

In motherhood, it's best to wake up each day and solemnly acknowledge the ignorant being you are. Today, your child will refuse to eat the thing that was a favorite yesterday and gobble up the thing you just swore to the babysitter he hates. Today, a favorite teddy will hide under the bed and you won't find it... you just won't... before it's time to go to work. Your teenager will do something you thought she wouldn't, a hug will land when you least expect it, you'll be villanized, you'll be canonized.

Days are not for planning in the morning, they are for reliving in the evening.

But also:

2. Trust your gut.
You may be a big dummy but your instinct is incredible. No one can tell you better than you what's best for your baby. Absorb all advice, digest, reflect, react accordingly.

3. Call your mother.
Maybe she gave birth to you, maybe she's an aunt, maybe she's a group of wonderful friends who all met on the internet. When your gut takes a bit of time producing an answer, call your mother. She can jiggle the handle and get things flowing every time.

4. Let them eat cake.
Or go down the slide that seems a tad high. Let them fold their shirts in a crazy way and make the bed so terribly you have to check yourself into a mental ward for OCD. Let them take a wrong answer back to the teacher. Instead of saying, "Get down," try advising that doing that might make them fall. All within reason, of course, but the healthiest people are bags of skin stuffed with mistakes and triumphs in a pretty even mix. This is probably the hardest part for me to do.

And all of these lessons? They are, eternally, also a note to self.

Happy birthday, J.


kgiff said...

Awe. You are truly one of the best mothers I know and I'm glad to you have as part of my "phone a mom" network!

Happy birthday J!

Katie @ On the Banks of Squaw Creek said...

23 years! Congrats on surviving that long! lol

Champagne on Tuesdays said...

Thanks to you both! xo