Thursday, January 31, 2013
confessions of an ordinary mama.
I had a dream a few nights ago. There was a 1-800 number I could call to legally change my child's birth date. "A lot of moms call when their kids are this age - he'll never know," the customer service lady reassured me. I was hoping to push his birthday back two weeks - two more weeks to get ready for his party and his special day at daycare. Things have been a little nutty lately and I was sure two weeks would give me the extra time I needed to give him a great birthday celebration.
Last year Matt and I frosted two practice cakes before his "real" cake. That's how ready we were for February 12th. Two years ago I was at work doing lunges and moving heavy tables. That's how ready I was for this kid - already three days late - to join us. "Pushing his birthday back two weeks would mean his new day is February 26. Does that work for you?" she asked. I was paying the $30.00 service fee when I woke up.
This dream speaks to several things about my motherhood experience. Even though Jasper has turned my world upside down, my subconscious still longs for organization and perfection. Even though I am serving a less-than-full-time call, I am still navigating the stewardship of my...self. And even though I am showered in the grace and beauty of motherhood, I have ordinary dreams and days to confess:
1. While I negotiated 8 weeks of paid maternity leave, I was checking email, writing a sermon, and dropping in on a parishioner in the hospital during my seventh week. This momma loved her time at home, but missed her time at church. Both can be true and leaning back into that work during week seven made me a better mom to Jasper. I will want 8 weeks again. It felt good to want to come back that much.
2. I forgot to drop Jasper off at daycare on four occasions that first spring. Sleepy Meta coasted all the way to church, parked, got out of the car, and realized there was still a person in the backseat. Whoops.
3. There's a tooth chart in Jasper's baby book. The date of his first tooth is accurate. The rest are fictitious. (The chart looks so much cooler all filled in.)
4. I don't know Baby CPR.
5. My heart leaps when he bumps his head and starts wailing. I'm not happy about him being in pain, but I adore the way he crumbles into my lap and lets me rock him back and forth. I get to smell his hair and my kisses are still enough make it all better.
6. Sometimes I yell at him and sometimes I can't imagine why I would ever yell at him. Sometimes I forget to check on him before I go to bed and sometimes I creep in and stroke his forehead, unable to leave his side because he's so beautiful and still.
7. I buy into the myth of scarcity when it comes to one thing: I wish I had more time with him and I also wish I had more time without him - I miss having Matt all to myself.
8. Sometimes I dress Jasper in his clothes for the next day before bed. (Okay, most of the time.)
9. I picked Jasper up a few weeks ago and he came back to church for a meeting with me. I was gathering my notes with a minute to spare when I smelled something. "Do you have poop in your pants?" Ja. I had no diapers, no wipes. Luckily it was pretty solid, so I just went digging. We flushed it, he waved buy-bye, I washed my hands (really, really well), and we headed downstairs.
10. I succumb to the Big Temptation every time. It's easy to think that his adorable, good mannered, adventurous, hearty appetite, thoughtful moments are directly related to me or how well I parent. When we're out for dinner at a buffet and all he wants is broccoli, I glow with hubris. When he struggles to share or has a much smaller vocabulary than other kids, I am quietly crestfallen. It's silly, but powerful and true...and so not about me.
I have to remind myself every day that Jasper is resilient, kind, bright, and funny for all kinds of reasons. And he is other things, too. All of this belong to him, though I get to be along for the ride. I get to cheer him on, offer support, and help him identify as a beloved and chosen child of God. That is the gift in the midst of the chaos - I get to be there while he becomes someone really wonderful.
We're going to leave his birthday on the 12th.
We're going to buy a cake this year.
And it's going to be really, really great.
P.S. Scratch that. My sister-in-law read this and asked to bake his cake. There goes that village again - being awesome. What a beautiful life!
Posted by Meta Herrick Carlson