The Ole' New Year's Post: The Year of Patience
I know, it's not even New Year's day but this is still my New Year's post.
So, how to begin reflecting on the massive change of becoming a mother this year, since anything else I participated in or achieved pales in comparison? I've always been one of those people who feels as though I am the first person to experience something. As if trillions of other women and men have not had their lives turned upside down by the small person who takes over the very second they exit the womb. Actually, I think there was a time socially when, thanks to the proximity of womenfolk--aunts, cousins, sisters and their offspring--that having a baby was not such a big thing--what else did you do anyway other than darn and knit and cook and have babies. So essentially I can thank progress and women's rights for the fact that my life has gone all helter-skelter since my fresh-faced new arrival. I mean that in a positive way. I'm lucky that I was so used to my freedom that a baby put a quick yoke on all that.
7 months after our son's birth, I can say that I underestimated a lot about myself before becoming a mother. Oh, and I overestimated a lot, too. This child is teaching (or trying to, at least) me patience and selflessness and things I will confess I thought I already had going for me. Woo baby have I been schooled! He's driven me face to face with my dark side, too, but of course--and here comes the Hallmark sentiment--he's exposed me to some pretty remarkable feelings I didn't know I was capable of. Powerful-die-for-you kind of love.
But most of all, I've come to see that parenting is a messy, imperfect art. Most things are out of your control and what little you can control changes fairly rapidly. As my friend Erika likes to point out, parenthood is like being a kind of mad scientist who continually experiments and tries new things, hoping for an answer, a pattern, a cure.
I don't know if I'm a better person yet, but I sure as hell aim to be. He's definitely made me excited about the world again, eager to share it all with him. And at each intolerable stage of his babyhood, it passes and he grows more into a person and I am ever more aware of how fast it's all going. He'll be in college before I know it.
I think that 2008 can comfortably be called my year of patience. Waiting for his birth. Waiting for him to sleep through the night. Waiting to feel like I have an iota of mastery at this motherhood gig. Still waiting for a lot of it, but I'm glad he's here, glad to be changing, and glad I waited 12 years with the right man to do it.