Thursday, August 9, 2012

10 Sweetest Things - 13 Months

Daniel's first carousel ride

The struggle and stress of motherhood is tempered by so much sweetness. These are some of my favorite things about Daniel at 13 months.

1. He took his first steps, all casual like, making me suspect he's been walking for months behind our backs.
2. Every morning, his first word when he sees me in the morning is “Nalu" (our dog's name.)
3. He says "Hi!" and "Bye bye" to everyone who passes him.
4. He makes the signs for "more" "all done" and "please."
5. He speaks with exaggerated mouth movement and enunciation. When he says "cracker" it looks like a puppet's mouth opening and closing.
6. He snaps his fingers while clicking with his tongue – as if he’s fooling anyone.
7. He reaches his arms up to signal he wants a hug. 
8. He laughs with delight as Nalu wrestles with his stuffed animals.
9. He sings "Row row row your boat."
10. He giggles and yells with equal enthusiasm. 

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Daniel Has an Imperfect Mother

I’ve been cranky recently. Call it bitchy, call it a short fuse, whatever it is, Daniel has seen and felt it. It’s not about him. He’s being his lovely one-year-old self: mostly delightful, sometimes frustrating. But my moodiness felt bad enough that I took myself back to the Postpartum Stress Center today, to talk to Marcie, the counselor who helped me out of my depression six months back.

I vented it all. Everything I’ve been angry about lately, starting close to home, ending with the Catholic Church, with many things in between. After I was done, Marcie observed that I seemed “loaded for bear.” I had to agree. She added that when I don’t make time for myself, I get cranky. I nodded. She reminded me it was my responsibility to carve out alone time to write, to renew, to refresh. This rang some bells. “You ignore this at your peril,” she said.

I know everything she said to be true. We have covered this ground before. But the sneaky belief that it's selfish to need alone time had crept back in and taken over. My work for the moment is to accept the following as true: Whether I like it or not, I need alone time to be healthy. In its absence, I get grumpy, and grumpy can slide into depression. I wish I could handle everything with aplomb and grace, but I can't. Based on past experience, I show a lot more of both if I'm regularly refreshing myself with time alone to write, to dream, to play.

I’m sorry, Daniel, that you have a mom who gets depressed. I’m sorry you have a mom who needs breaks from you. I wish I could protect you from all pain, but I can't. I hope that by taking care of myself, I will set an example for you, one that will help you to care for yourself one day. You are my sunshine, my delight, the heart of my heart. I hope you always know and believe that.