The countdown has begun: C will be three in only about two and a half weeks.
Sometimes I look through the archives of my blog to revisit all the things we’ve been through together.
I remember when I saw her shimmy-shake across the screen for the very first time.
I remember seeing her heel slide across my torso while I lied in bed watching Netflix, and I remember feeling her less-than-gentle third trimester kicks.
I remember *finally* meeting her.
I remember seeing her roll and smile. Then she pulled up. Before we could blink, she was walking.
I remember when she learned to say no. My hair has turned 700 shades of gray since then.
I remember when she danced to the ting-ting sound of B stirring his coffee with a spoon.
I remember when she learned what it was to hurt.
There are so many things to remember, and sometimes it makes me sad that I don’t have the time to write them all down. All these things are her history. She will always be my baby, always learning and accomplishing new milestones. She’s making her way in the world.
Why do I like to lavish in the memories of my girl? There are as many answers to that question as there are things about her that intrigue me. I reflect because she’s beautiful, because she’s experiencing the world with fresh eyes, because I see myself in her, because I don’t see myself in her, because she’s imperfect and aggravating and gorgeous and good.
But I think that pain has something to do with it, too.
Much has been said about the co-mingled highs and lows of motherhood. This ride is the most beautiful thing you’re ever going to experience, but it’s also the most excruciating. It all starts when you give birth. (Well, if we’re being honest it starts way before then, but for the sake of my upcoming metaphor, let’s just pretend it starts with labor.) There’s the literal pain of having a human exit your own body, but then there’s the emotional. What was once one is now two. You’re giving up control, you’re cutting the cord. You will never, ever be united with your child the way you were when you were carrying her. Giving birth is downright brutal.
But here’s the thing: we give birth again and again and again when we see our kids grow.
Your baby’s on solids.
She starts to walk.
She figures out what makes you angry and then deliberately performs that very action.
She goes to school.
She moves out.
There’s a part of me that goes back to these memories because they hurt. It’s the same thing that drives me to talk about losing my dad, to watch the same movies repeatedly with the complete knowledge that they’ll make me cry, and to sprint the last lap even though I feel like my legs are on fire and that I may die. We remember because we want to feel. At least I do.
Cee went to school for the first time yesterday. She didn’t cry when I dropped her off, but once I was back in the safe confines of my car, I did. I cried the sad-happy cry of a mother who remembers when her baby was nothing more than an extra pink line on a home pregnancy test, and now she’s singing songs at circle time.