For Mother’s Day my mom sent me a wonderful essay titled On Being Mom by Anna Quindlen. It touches on two aspects of parenthood little understood by anyone until it is your turn to raise another human.
The first is that for as much information as there is out there about raising children, there is really very little advice anyone can actually give you about how to care for your child beyond the basics. As a terrified mother of a newborn I turned to every resource I could think of for help, but when all I got was flurry of contradictory advice I decided to take a deep breath and listen to my heart. Almost two years later relying on my intuition does not seem natural; learning to trust my instincts when it comes to my child I suspect will be a lifelong lesson.
The second is something every parent knows, but still can’t manage to do enough of—live in the moment. Like many of us I spend so much time being stressed about getting things done and balancing my life and worrying that I am being taken over by this toddler. But I know one day I will turn around and POOF it will be gone.
As I write this I can hear Louisa babbling in her room (she’s just woke up from her nap) and all I can think to myself is LISTEN, listen, you will miss this when it’s gone and wonder what it sounded like, just like I wonder what her infant cries used to sound like—I can’t remember. Between sing-songy nothing words she’s saying “Mama, what’s going on?” In her language only a handful of people can understand.
This Mother’s Day I am going to make a resolution to give up control—in reality I have very little anyway—relax and enjoy my child, my family, my life. I resolve to stop, breathe, and listen, just listen.