Way Back When #4

Sometimes it takes a backward glance to see just how far we’ve come…

10.23.06
Hopefully I dont screw up

My mom was here this weekend. Steve went to visit some friends in Victoria and so she came up. We talked and laughed and cooked and shopped and cleaned and coo-cooed Leila and all in all, it was great to have some alone time with her.

We talked about raising children and about being a mom and about living a life outside of your home and how important it is to your kid(s) to keep your relationship strong.

My maternal grandmother died eleven years ago, and my aunt died six years ago. Mom was close with both of them. She has another sister out West (I use the term loosely, because I am not really sure where) but they did not keep in touch. My mom and I were always close, but ever since my aunt died, our relationship has changed. Relationships are constantly changing, and whether it was my maturity level, the fact that we are the only two women in our family, or a combination of the two, we started to become more like friends. I mean she is still my mom and I still want to lay my head in her lap while we watch tv and let her play with my hair. And I still want her advice and turn to her for support or sometimes just to cry, but it is kind of different. Especially now that I am a mom.

She used to tell me that I could never truly understand how much she loved me. And I laughed and told her she was silly, because we were close and we were friends and she was always there for me. Had always been there for me. But now I understand what she meant. Because even though she is a staple in my life, a constant, even though she has been there my whole life, I was not always there.

It sounds silly and trite to say, but it is true. Leila changed my life. She changed me, in some ways. I rocked her while she slept tonight, falling sleepily off my breast. And I stared at her perfect mouth and her chubby cheeks and her little hand clutching my shirt and I felt my heart swell. Because here is this little person, who is learning and growing everyday, who is so dependant on me who I love so much. I love her so much that the word love does not seem to be strong enough. She has brought out all these feelings in me that the word mother has taken on new meanings. She is so innocent and beautiful and dependent that sometimes it scares that hell out of me because I am flying blind.

Only for a brief period in my pregnancy did I worry about taking care of a baby. At the end of the day, all they need is warm clothes, a clean diaper, a full belly and love. But now that life has settled into our new version of normal, I have time to day dream about life beyond baby-dom, and what awaits us. There will be the girls who make her feels ugly and stupid, there will be the boys who pull her hair and tease her, or worse yet, break her heart. There will be the moments of devastation; there will be the nights she cries and cries, using her sheets to dry her tears. And those are the moments that scare me. Not the teething and the learning to crawl. Not the afternoons when she lays in her crib and cries because she is too tired to fall asleep. Not the times she pulls all the books off the shelves. Those moments are me learning patience.

How do I teach my daughter to love herself when there are days I look in the mirror and hate what I see? How do I teach her to trust herself when too often I fall back onto Steve or my mother?

Living day to day life with a baby is not scary. Thinking about somehow figuring out how to raise a confident woman who can differentiate between Hollywood and real life, and who understands how almost everything in popular media is just a little bit degrading, and who truly believes that she is worth something and can contribute positively to society, that is what scares me.

Hopefully I dont screw up.

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