Part of the reason I started my blog was that I would stop leaving random pieces of writing everywhere…when I was a kid, and before we had computers, my mother would clean up my room after I had gone back to the hostel after my summer vacation and she would find shreds of writing everywhere – under the bed, in the drawers, behind the cupboards. Now I leave them on different devices.
This morning, in my random browsing, I chanced upon this half-written draft from 2012. I rarely write about motherhood- I suppose I am so engrossed being one that the moment to stop, reflect and write never comes. This is a rare one, about motherhood:
2012 was a wonderful wonderful year. It will always be, for me, the year in which my second daughter was born. The year in which, I feel, I finally grew up!
When does one become a grown up, really? Is it when you turn eighteen? If the right to vote is your yardstick, perhaps it is. I am way past eighteen, but I have never voted in my life. Could it be when you move out of your parents’ house? Could it be when you fall in love? When you earn your own living? When someone calls you mom (or dad)?
I don’t quite know. Perhaps it is different for everyone.
I had five months of a break – a break is the wrong word – no one should call a maternity break a “break”. A break from work, sure, but unless you have oodles of support, it feels like anything but a break. But nevertheless, I have reflected a lot.
I think I am grown up because I feel centered. I feel finally as if I am beginning to know who I am, who I will be and to be happy with it (to some extent). I accept finally that you really cannot control things, you just have to let go sometimes, and hope for the best.
My daughter is sleeping in my arms as I type this post. Every once in a while, I glance at her eyes; her eyelashes, already very long, remind me of how she is so mine. I see my husband in her slightly curved nose. I gently close her half-open lips, she stirs a bit, but is back to sleep and within a span of a sentence, opens her lips again ever so slightly – in that stubbornness, I see my eldest daughter. She stretches and she smiles – I live and die for that smile.
When my first daughter was born, I was a nervous over-excited first time mother. I must have scoured every book and every website on motherhood and infant development. Every move was meticulously recorded, every smile was photographed and filed. I had moments of intense highs and intense lows, lows where I was convinced that I must be the most clueless mother on earth. I look at her now – a spirited three year old, and I beam with pride. That silly old me, who knew not much, somehow stumbled through the first years of motherhood, and my daughter still loves me.
With my second, I am more quietly confident. Of course, I display every nervousness at the slightest cough, and even at a change of routine, but I realise motherhood is just that – a constant avalanche of emotions. Often I sit by the play-mat, dangling a bright toy and singing utter nonsense to my daughter. I am startled by a force of nature jumping on my back. As I wrestle playfully with my first-born on the carpet, I want my baby to grow up ever so quickly and join us in our games. Yet when I go back to watching her sweet innocent smile, I can’t shake off the feeling that this is the last time my baby would be this small. I will never again be the mother of a one-day old baby. Each passing moment is intensely felt, I want to hold on to each one of them.
From the milestone chasing mother of one, I have become the clutching-on-to-each-moment, mother of two.
When my baby is at my breast, I think of how this is the last child I would ever breast feed. She bites me once in a while to tell me that she is done, I let out a short cry of pain, yet I cherish it. After five months of feeding her, I am nowhere near ready to stop it. It is our small moment, a shared experience that no one else has access to. When she has had a full feed, she purrs so happily, almost like a happy kitten. She smiles at me as if I am the only one in this world that matters. Never again will I be so indispensable to anybody again, not even to her.
If I had to describe myself in a word, I have often chosen the word Nomad. Now I choose the word, Mother.