Even though Sunday was my second officially-sanctioned Mothers Day as a mom, it was effectively my first one. Last year, C was only about five weeks old on Mothers Day and I had no energy or desire to celebrate. No one was sleeping, no one was eating well, no one felt like a human. I was paying my dues in the New Baby Club and stocking up on the experiences that would make me truly relish the return of sleep. If this was motherhood, I’d take a pass on celebrating it.
I had something to toast to this year. I celebrated my survival by sipping my coffee and eating pancakes B prepared for me. I sneaked a Dove chocolate between them. It was melty and perfect. I celebrated while lounging on the sofa and watching C and B screen an episode of Mister Roger’s Neighborhood on YouTube. I celebrated by fighting the urge to call and apologize for my tardiness when I ran long at my solo date to the coffee shop. I celebrated by showing B how to make fish tacos for us all for dinner. He only cut his finger once when he sliced the avocados.
We put C in her crib at 6:45. She woke up around 9:15, crying from a bad dream. She rarely wakes in the middle of the night anymore so I jumped at the chance to see her and be there with her. B and I had been discussing only a couple days ago how nowadays, we simply put her away at 6:45. We go about our after-hours routines and have to remind ourselves that she is indeed in the other room sleeping and living. By the time we turn our own lights out at 11, we have almost forgotten we’re parents.
She cried out and I held her. She nestled into my chest and I smelled her head. She’s a lanky baby but she is still so slight in my arms. Mere months before, it would have taken hours to pull her together and meet her needs. On Sunday night, it took no more than ten minutes. By 9:25, she was back in her crib.
I felt sad. At some point, this all got kind of easy. It made me pine for the days where I was regularly put through the fire and earning my keep as the parent of an infant. It made me sad for my own parents that they know exactly what it’s like to be needed intensely and then, in the blink of an eye, just standing by in the other room waiting for me to cry out. All we want is to be needed longer.
Parenthood is heartbreaking.
Let’s drink mimosas.