Every morning I wake up and wonder what kind of day it's going to be. Is it going to be a PPD filled day? Is it going to be a busy day? Is it going to be a fun day? Is it going to be a laundry day (laundry used to take me a few hours. Now it somehow takes me days to finish)? Is it going to be an inside day or an outside day? When I woke up and saw her beautiful face smiling up at me with her deep big eyes, I knew whatever kind of day it would be, it would be a good day. Shortly after waking, I had my first hearty laugh of the day. I was having my breakfast and checking my email and I was suddenly very aware of what I looked like. My hair was up in a clip. Semi-topless because I was wearing a bra but it was half off as I tried to air out my left breast. Wearing my Old Navy red checkered pajama shorts. And my monkey slippers. I looked ridiculous. But still, my husband came over and hugged me. I felt how blind love can be and stopped what I was doing for a moment to enjoy the blissfulness of that. I keep complaining to my husband about how ugly I feel and how stringy my hair is because it all fell off and how I don't have time to look cute to leave the house and how all my clothes are frumpy and milk-stained. If I would stop complaining for a few seconds, maybe I could finally notice that he doesn't mind. He is so steadfast and calm. I know he has an inner wisdom about all of this that knows it's just a phase. So he just smiles and gently nudges me out of my dark cave.
I am very blessed and I do know it and I am grateful. Every morning, the first thought I send out to the universe is a very loud and sincere THANK YOU. But it's been easy for me to forget. The baby blues come down hard sometimes and what is happening at the moment sometimes feels like it's a jail sentence that will last forever.
My dark cave came a'calling while I was bathing her. Bath time is my favorite part of the day with my little one. Just like my own bath time though, it's very meditative and my mind tends to wander and ponder my life. Like many times since my baby was born, I began thinking about my own childhood and grew angry at the ways I felt my parents fell short. I thought about how maybe my motherhood challenges mostly came from the fact that I had no example to draw from from my family. I felt a stinging resentment at the fact that my mom went back to work just a few weeks after I was born. And that whenever I want to talk to her about my frustrations or ask questions about something that is from the attachment parenting view, I have to go to a friend in North Carolina, one in Georgia or one or two here. Some may argue she had to go back to work and that is mostly true, but still.
As I was pouring warm water over my little one, I looked into her eyes and with mine pleaded with her to always tell me what she needs because I would always listen and respond. I always seem to vow- in moments like these- to not be like my mom. And immediately after, I always wish I could just talk to her, tell her how I've always felt and then resolve it once and for all and go back to simply loving her. It feels a bit overwhelming sometimes when I think that in the middle of the volcano of emotions that erupted about my mom (and dad), I became a mom myself. I am still someone's child... still trying to figure that out... and now someone is my child. What does that all mean for me? I don't know. I guess all my emotions came to the surface finally so that I could be a better parent to my daughter. And because I am not boozing it up and pushing it down anymore so I gave it space to get resolved. The problem is, I don't know how to approach my parents with everything I want to say. They are great parents. But there are still things I would like to communicate with them.
Bathtime was ending, so I snapped out of my mental processes and focused wholly on my daughter again. She looked at me and then flashed me a tremendous smile- the kind where her eyes squint because she's smiling so big- and my heart melted into a warm and fuzzy mush. She's such a happy baby. That doesn't just come out of nowhere. Sometimes when I think about how hard it is to mother, I feel as if I am trying to fill my daughter's cup from an empty one. I feel like I am giving things I wasn't given. With that int mind, it's easy to feel exhausted, depressed, resentful and lost. But she is smiling. She is smiling big. That comes from me. We give her so much love. We know how to nurture her. I know what she needs and I know how to answer to it. I know how to comfort her. My intuition is clear and precise with her. For the first time ever, I was able to feel my cup overflowing. That had to come from somewhere. With all the things I think they lacked, my parents still let me be me. I mean, jeez, with all their rules and old-fashioned beliefs, they let my college boyfriend sleep over and had a place set for him on Sundays at the breakfast table. We fought long and hard for that one so they finally stopped fighting us, gave in and realized they were better off welcoming him into the family than have us run off somewhere or something. Good on them. They may not have understood me, but at least they gave me space to become this woman that I now am. Why have I always blamed them and focused on their shortcomings?... I don't know. I was able to now see it all in a more benign light though for the first time in a very, very long time. They loved me. They loved me a lot. They loved me well. Maybe not the way I may have wanted it or the way I would have done it. But love is love is love.
I can't help but feel so blessed and grateful tonight for everything. For my daughter, my husband, for my whole family, for my tribe, for my friends, and for this world. In whatever conditions these things are all in, I feel a huge gratitude for them and am so thankful for their love because love is love.
My cup feels full. :)