On Maya’s first birthday today, I wanted to let her know this:
Her father and I always wanted to have two children. We thought it would make sense as they could grow up together not turning into some spoiled rotten brats. Though it’s not necessarily true.
We thought we knew about parenthood after we had Ethan, at least intellectually. We are good parents. We will always meet our children’s needs. And then we had Maya way before we could marginally handle her brother. And for the first few months since she was born, I felt like I was fighting a losing battle. Because taking care of two young children isn’t about understanding things intellectually. It’s about a full-fledged belly-flop into a giant hole filled with anxiety and depression – an overshadowing emotional spiral that makes coping with anything nearly impossible.
My daily life was torture. I worked my ass off to maintain her routine, to complete loads of laundry, to cope with their father’s not being around, to control my emotion. I wanted to throw up all day long. Everyday was a bad day. Days when she was so fussy that I had to be constantly pacing and rocking back and forth to make sure she didn’t start crying, I felt so exhausted that I would sob uncontrollably. Days when I got to prepare dinner and she had to be by yourself, and her screams sickened me so bad that I had to walk away to yell and cry to regain myself. Days when her brother had to be out of the house as I wasn’t capable to take care of them both. Days when anxiety robbed me of any sleep she allowed me. Days when I couldn’t see leaving the house ever again. Days when fighting never stopped because I didn’t think their father did good enough. Days when I struggled to make it from hour to hour. Days when I only saw hopelessness and frustration and an overwhelming sense of failure.
I’m saying this because one day she will become a mother. And I think it’s important to be honest and let her know that the whole motherhood thing is not easy. This is the hardest thing I have ever done in my life. And just look at what I did to my mother.
But then there were good days. Days when my emotional blues subsided and the weather got better. Days when the sun came up, her mile-wide smile welcomed me. Days when I saw her cheeks grew fuller overnight. Days when she threw out a word or two. Days when I decided to look back on this time fondly and remember her smiles, not her screams. Days when I felt strong enough to handle this job. Days when I slowly got out of the bed and did it another day.
Days when everyone tells me that she is a good baby because she’s really become a good baby. Days when I watch her play all by herself while I am writing this.
During the three weeks being away from her, her father and I had been worrying if she would forget about us. And she didn’t seem to remember her father the first time she saw him coming back. But you know what she did when she saw me? She spread her arms and wanted me to hold her. And once she was put in my arms, she brightened up like a sun-flooded room. I almost broke out into tears.
I’d say she should become a mother just for this reason alone.
We lucked out and didn’t get the worst baby. But one day she may roll that dice and get the grumpy baby, and oops, there goes the rest of her life.