It's amazing how quickly becoming a mother yourself can make you feel connected to, and make you feel a need for, your own mother. I remember the first time I carried a child and how I suddenly had this intense urge to be closer to my mom. To ask her questions and spend time talking with her. To let her know that I cared about her and appreciated the amazing role she played in bringing me into the world and raising me through my young life.
It was hard going through a pregnancy and a stressful birth experience without my mother's guidance and support (cancer can quit now, OK), and I keep coming up against questions I really wish I could ask my mama, but that must be left unanswered. It's good to be able to work through your own experience in your own unique way, but it would sure be nice to bounce things off my mom, too. After all, she did raise some pretty fantastic children (ahem). While some of these I can ask my dad, there are just some things I think mothers remember more than fathers, especially if they're the 24/7 caregivers.
Having lost my baby book in the irresponsibility of post-highschool/pre-university limbo, I have to accept the fact that there are things about myself I will never know.
I know some things about my early years, from our conversations before her passing. I was born on a Tuesday at 6:57 a.m. (Good morning, world!). My first real word was "pretty." I learned to read when I was three. I would put myself down for naps, recognizing I was "grumpy" and needed to sleep. I also have some memories of those young moments, which is amazing, since I can't remember what I did yesterday half the time. My first memory is even very clear, being just two months shy of three years old, heading to see my new baby sister in my grandparents faux-wood-side-paneled van (remember those?), and getting all the equipment on in a sterile room in preparation of meeting my incubator baby sis. Sneaking around like some sort of acrobatic thief in the middle of the night to do "helpful" things for other people, like setting the table for breakfast.
But, there are still a lot of wonderings.
Here are some of the things I would ask my mom if she were here today:
When did I... Walk? Talk? Play pretend? The list goes on and on. Having lost my baby book in the irresponsibility of post-highschool/pre-university limbo, I have to accept the fact that there are things about myself I will never know. It's not the end of the world, but it would be nice to compare my early years with those of my Toddler Z.
Was I a good eater? When did you start me on solids? What did you feed me? With a bird-ish eater on my hands, I'm curious to know what I was like and what my mom did to keep her little vegans alive and healthy.
What did you do about sleep? Did we co-sleep? How long? Was I a good sleeper? Did I go through any sleep-training? When did I sleep through the night? Will I ever enjoy a full night's sleep again??
What was the hardest thing to teach me? How did you do it?
What came easily to me? Did you have any inclinations about what I would be doing as an adult, based on what seemed natural for me?
What were the hardest decisions you had to make? How did you and Dad make decisions about how you would raise us? Did you talk about most of the "rules" and guidelines before we were born, or make everything up as you went? Was it easy to come to an agreement?
Almost every day I come up with more things I wonder about, and more questions I wish I could ring up my mom and ask, not only about myself, but about her life, too. I regret that I didn't use the time I had with my mom to it's fullest. I'd like to think that if I'd known she wasn't going to be around for long, I would have called her every day (or at least every week). I would have sent her more special cards and gifts. I would have visited more often. I wouldn't have acted like such a little $#*+ in my rebellious, angst-y teenage years.
But time only goes forward (as far as my reality is concerned, anyhow), so I am learning to let go of the past and what I wish the present and future could be, and to treasure the good memories that I do have.
I miss you, Mom, but life is good. Little Z is an amazing person, and I'm trying hard to be the best mama I can be for her. I like to think you'd be proud of me.
This post originally appeared on The Big To-Do List.
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