In March, I wrote a blog post entitled “Supermom”. It was a tribute, of sorts, to my (our) son, who was turning 25. As June is my daughter’s birthday month, I thought I’d pick-up where that March blog post left off.
I give you…Supermom, Take 2.
The first thing I remember when I think about my second pregnancy was how huge I was. Everyone thought I was having twins. Including me. I’m not particularly tall (ok…I’m short) and therefore I carried my daughter right out in front. And I mean RIGHT OUT IN FRONT.
Let me pause for a moment and give you a bit of history. My son, who had arrived a week before his due date, was a relatively easy baby from the moment he entered the world. He slept all night at about 4 weeks. He was even-tempered and sweet (except for the 6 months around his 3rd birthday…then he was a hellion). He was everything a new mom could ask for.
Then SHE arrived.
I should have known she’d be a handful when my due date came and went with no sign of delivery in the future. When she did finally decide to ‘arrive’, she did so on her own timeline; impatient as always. She came into this world like a tornado….a few hours of laboring, a couple of pushes and that was it. I suddenly had 8 pounds of perfect baby girl ready to take on the world.
I was blissed out….ecstatic to have a healthy girl and her four year old brother in our lives. I was a pro at this mommy thing (or so I thought), and I assumed it couldn’t be that difficult to suddenly go from one child to two. Could it?
Hell yes it could.
You see…this beautiful brown-eyed girl who we cherished completely, would not sleep. Not at night. Not during the day. You hear these stories (and I lived them with my son), about babies who sleep non-stop, take perfectly scheduled naps and fall asleep whenever and wherever they can.
Not my girl.
The only time I could maybe get her down for a bit of a rest was on my chest for a few blissful hours during the day. She woke up numerous times each night….for 18 months straight. I pleaded with the doctor…please help me. I even (guiltily) gave her cough medicine once or twice because I truly could not function. I tried enlisting the hubby’s help, but since he’s a heavy sleeper he never seemed to wake before I did. I was bleary-eyed, worn out and constantly on the verge of tears…and yet I had never been more fulfilled.
Fast forward to 2017. She’s turning 21 in a few days. She’s moving away to college in August. And she’s my very best friend.
Things change. Life changes. And darn…it changes quickly too. Those sleepless nights are now (mostly) forgotten and the precocious child she once was has turned into a tough, caring, smart, beautiful adult woman. Gone are the days when she’d cling to me with frantically worried eyes when I’d drop her off at preschool. Gone are the frustrating days of her junior high years when our fights were a daily occurrence. What has remained is this; she’s as spunky and self-assured as she’s always been. She has strong opinions but is willing to listen (unlike so many adults I know). She’s the first to lend a hand when asked, and brave enough to take chances.
In celebration of her birthday, I’d like to continue my Supermom advice to all those mommies out there (first time ones and beyond):
You’re amazing! This cannot be said enough.
After the first child, you become an expert in multi-tasking. You might already be somewhat of an expert now, but just wait. Soon you’ll be simultaneously changing a diaper, reading a story, making a grocery list in your head, reminding yourself to make dentist appointments….all at the same time. You can do it!
Babies #2 and beyond get shafted. I’ll sometimes look back through my photos of my son’s first year and there are quite literally pictures that were taken every day. Not with my daughter. There was the initial flurry of pictures when she was born, but then real life happened and suddenly her childhood became a rare snapshot taken at a birthday party or a trip to Disneyland. Sad but true.
Moms are part octopus. There were many times when my kids were little that I was reaching for one or both of them while trying to hold onto the diaper bag and groceries and who knows what else. Somehow I managed, and you will too. Being part octopus is one of the perks of mommy-hood.
You learn to let stuff go. With my son, I obsessed over the cleanliness of my house. I washed his toys daily. I scrubbed every surface repeatedly. When my daughter came along, I had to learn to let things go. My house was messier, the laundry piled up, and you know what? Everything was fine. Its life…let that crap go. Spend time with your kids. Before you know it they’ll be married and/or in college. Your house will be spotless and you’ll be wishing for a mess.
I wish…I wish…I wish. I wish time didn’t go so quickly. I wish I would have taken more time to stop and smell the roses when my kids were little. I wish I could go back – knowing what I know now – and spend every single minute internally cataloging each day for posterity. Wishing goes hand in hand with maternal worry and doubt, and I sometimes wonder if I’ll ever stop wishing and stop hoping for things to just slow down.
Take stock and be grateful. Yes, my daughter is going away to college. But I can be grateful that she’ll be living less than a mile from her brother and his wife. I can be grateful she’ll have the two of them to lean on if and when she gets homesick. I can be so thankful she’s seeing her dreams come true and working toward her goals. I can – I am – so blessed that she and her brother are friends, good friends, and that they love each other immensely. I am so very grateful, that I can get in the car and drive a few hours to see her.
Twenty-one years ago I didn’t know a whole lot, but I did know this: being a mom is everything you will imagine it can be….and so, so much more.
Happy birthday J. We are so proud of the amazing woman you’ve become and we love you so very, very much!