I often wonder why we make the joke to new parents “good luck, you know that there is no manual that comes with that new bundle of joy, right?” I don’t think that there needs to be an owner’s manual explaining how to operate the new life entering the world, rather one that makes sense of the adult operating system that has accrued all the glitches and nuances of parenthood. How nice would it be to be able to turn to the table of contents and see an actual list of real things that have occurred and a page number listed that you can fumble towards in the wee hours between breast feeding (or bottles, Dads) and that graduation cap? It’s a long life for them and us. I think the kids know what they are doing for the most part. It is us, the parents that trip in the dark of this child-rearing treasure-trove of unknowns. As babies they get it. And you know they know that you know that when they cry life stops. It comes to a complete and full throttle halt. Period. They just cry, when wet, hungry, pee-laden, poopie, bored, happy, or when it’s Tuesday at 3am. They learn just like we do. We, the parents, well we cry too. But why? That is the question to be answered. Why do we emote, express, and entertain the new array of “feelings” that grow inside of us once we “become” a parent? That evaluation is the precipice for the table of contents I spoke of a few sentences ago!
Chapter 1: My name is Mom.
I think it is about time to organize the parent-treasures for my own future generation. Maybe someone aside from own kids will read this and feel “normal” about the intricacies that exist in being a Mom or Dad. I won’t try to speak for anyone but myself from here on out. But I will say that my motherly perspective has earned the eyes in the back of my head finally. (That is a spontaneous happenstance that occurs right before your water breaks and swings into full gear right after their sweet little head rearranges your nether region). So, here goes. Hi, my name is Christina, a.k.a. Mom to seven interesting, diverse, humorous, annoying, loving, aggravating, precious, and precocious children. Let me get the preliminaries out of the way: 1) Yes, all mine 2) Yes, all mine biologically 3) Yes, oh-yeah, all epidurals (props to the all-natural mommies, I curtsy to you).
With that out of the way let me say that I feel there are so many places to start from but as you will hopefully see I like to spin the unique across our ordinary little lives in this far-reaching world. I find myself from time to time, more frequently now, sitting back and having moments where I see myself in this new perspective. Maybe it’s because I am 36 almost 37, maybe it’s because I am truly happy in my second marriage, or maybe it’s because it’s Tuesday at 3am. In one of these moments I have asked myself while looking at my oldest, “when did I really begin to feel like your mom”, “what does that even mean”, “was there a point that I can truly discern between feeling like your mom and feeling not like a mom”? These may not be your everyday questions but they draw a picture of how this all comes to be for a woman. One day you are the operator of your own body and then the next you are no longer drinking orange juice because it gives some little tad-pole wings of fire to breath back up your esophagus. I went from shopping for a Santana concert outfit to shopping for insanely ridiculous looking pants with a 6-inch band of “stretch” so that I could pretend I still wore jeans. And let’s be honest here, they are a joke, they pinch at the thighs, totally not cool! Where was I, right, so I don’t think it was the shopping for the grow-with-me clothes that indicated the mom-status. I think it was honestly the moment I caught myself talking to my tummy. This is surreal yet euphoric moment that happened inside and out, expressively. I was alone, sitting up in my bed and staring at my stomach. I still looked relatively the same being in my first trimester but I had the knowledge that there was a life happening inside of me. That knowledge is what changed me from Christina to Mom. The word had not yet been uttered aloud, the murmur of Ma-Ma had not been assimilated in to my brain, but inside my heart grew the knowledge that would infiltrate my entire being and change me forever. . . .