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Waxing and Waning Emotional Mother

Motherhood wasn’t something I latched onto easily. Some people take it and run with it like that it’s a shiny new kite they’ve always known how to fly. But not I. For the longest time, it felt awkward to me. In turn, I felt guilty about how awkward I felt as a mother. The awkward, guilty, awkward cycle was enough confuse anyone. So I shook it off.

However, at some point, I started to feel like I actually knew what I was doing. Sure my best friends were gallivanting in foreign countries drinking exotic wine, sleeping in, and basking in other opportunities I would have had sans baby, but I was teaching a kid to walk, talk, and call her dad funny names like “boobhead.” With every milestone that Allie accomplished I felt as if this whole mother gig was slowly being solidified in my head.

That said, my daughter Allie has a preschool screening tomorrow (Wednesday). She starts “gymnaskits” Thursday. And I’ve been waxing and waning emotional mother all day, all week. More steps all in the same week.

Maybe it’s PMS, maybe it’s the realization that she is growing up, or maybe it’s my astonishment at the fact that she has made it this far all in one piece—one piece, I tell you—but I am amazed. It’s ethereal, really.

When you have a newborn baby, it seems that people are shoving advice to you by the boatload. It’s coming from all directions, and neither ducking nor swerving to avoid it proves to be successful. They will hurl it at you in legions. If you’re me, you smiled politely, rolled your eyes, and went with your own thoughts, because you don’t trust people with poofy bangs.

(Why are poofy banged people always trying to give out advice anyway?)

Truthfully, the one piece of advice I listened to unintentionally was the whole, “Enjoy every day, they grow up so fast” rigmarole. Because it turns out, it wasn’t rigmarole. They really do grow so fast. I remember hearing that when when Allie was crying for hours and thinking to myself, “Whatever, I can’t wait for this bee ess to be over.” But it’s true. She really has grown up so fast, and sometimes when I’m feeling really crazy I even miss her tiny baby cry.

Now, I find myself taking mental pictures of her more often. Trying to etch every detail about her at age three into the crevices of my memory: the way her red hair curls so tightly after baths, the way her voice sounds when she’s giggling ridiculously hard, and the way she lays her head on my lap as if pillows were nonexistent. I look back at her first year and while I remember a lot, I’m sure there are tiny details I’ve forgotten.

Truthfully, I don’t want to forget details about Allie at three. I don’t want to forget anything about her at all, but particularly not at three. I hope I always remember that at age three, Allie called deodorant “dode-rants,” and that she always conned me into letting her wear some. We’ll see if she gets to sneak some on for her screening tomorrow morning or her first “gymnaskits” class on Thursday. I just wish it was all on film that at any given time I could rewind back to watch it all unfold.

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