Me: "Who has the best seat in the house, me or daddy?"

Adam: "Well, Daddy's is nice, but yours is best. Your's is squishier."

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Protecting the Memory

 Anyone who knows me 
 knows that I love motherhood.  I love it from the moment that lucky little sperm chances upon that hopeful egg.  No, before that, even.  When I was a girl I knew two things, I wanted to be an artist, and I wanted to be a mom.  In high school it didn't take me long to decided that the notion of being a musician would conflict with my maternal instincts, because nobody wants to go to a musical at 10AM.  Theater performances are generally smack-dab in the middle of the story and the bed-time shuffle.  So Fine Art it would be, but always knowing that "art" would be in the backseat once kids came along.  The stinky, noisy, Cheerio filled backseat.

I have been pregnant nine times.  If I took all the months of "trying" and plunked them end-to-end, it would come to to about 30 months of temperature taking, cervical-mucus-checking and scheduled romance.  Now, I'm certainly not complaining.  I know 30 months ain't so long in the grand scheme of the fertility-challenged.  I'm just saying, it takes more than holding hands in this house to put a bun in this oven.

And while we are doing math, I want to just tally up a few other digits for you.  86 hours of labor.  No joke.  And that is if you DON'T include July through mid August of 2010, when I was contracting 100 times a day.  I laugh now when I think of how we worried that Jonah pop out early.  WHATEVER.  Oh, and we are currently at 12 years, two months total on the breastfeeding gig... and counting.  I figure "the girls" are good to go another 9 months before their illustrious retirement.  Then it will be time to invest in a very small but very supportive bra, and to only change my clothes in the dark.

But honestly, those numbers only say one thing about me;  I wanted to be a mother so much, that I was, and am, willing to try as hard as I can to do the best that I can.  If breastfeeding were all it took to do a good job, any Jersey cow could do it.  I want so badly to raise emotionally healthy and spiritually strong young men and women.  And it is so hard, and sometimes I really botch things up so entirely that I may as well just start a savings for my kid's future therapy bills.  But every night I go to bed resolving to be better the next day, and (almost) every day I try my best to do it.
In my work with laboring mamas I have a unique charge: I am there to protect her memories.  In many ways, besides all of the other milliondy-billion things that I (and you, and we all...) do as mothers, it is the one thing that helps me to decide how to handle life's little moments with my children.  Because, you see, I don't get to choose which memories they hold onto forever.  I don't really think that they even do.  Sure I remember some of the great stuff from my childhood, but some of my childhood memories are so random, so not-memorable memories.  Sadly, though, some are there for reasons they shouldn't be.  Some are there because I felt afraid or embarrassed or humiliated, and some times that couldn't have been avoided, but other times it definitely could have.

Maybe the day I loose my temper while de-tangling the hair of a screaming six year old will end up being the day that is emblazoned in her grey matter (I swear that child sleeps in maple syrup).

I hope it is not.

I hope it is today, after gymnastics when we had yogurt.  Or maybe last week when I braided her hair as she laid her head in my lap in church.  Or story time.  Or when I give her pink sprinkles to dip her banana in.  Yeah, one of those.  Anything but the hair.

Oh, and about that hair.  I apologized. 

If she keeps a memory about that day, I hope that is the memory she keeps.

Mother's Day Memories I will keep:

 Stuffed Chicken Breasts with feta, bacon,spinach and caramelized onion,
mashed savory sweet potatoes with apples, and yummy chocolate cream pie
(and two boys getting along).

 Spinach salad with mango and sesame chips and raspberry vinaigrette.

My sweeties.

Um, yeah, that would be Ethan.  Jumping on the trampoline.  In a sleeping bag.

And the rarest sight of all.  
A smile.

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