The only thing I can think of is Mama. Life is so wrapped up in that aspect of my being right now that it is the only thing that comes. Well, monkey did too, but I honestly couldn’t think of anything to write about a monkey. I did think about describing the Littlest Pet Shop monkey we have, but being so small, that wouldn’t take long. It is purple, by the way.
Mama is the thing I wanted to be most of all. After a certain point that is. I also wanted to be a model (at age 13…), and an artist, and a writer and finally a professional stage manager. I managed that last one. There’s an M word…manager. I am a very good manager. I can take a lot of things in stride, and sort through chaos pretty neatly. I even won an award as a manager.
But Mama…now that is something else entirely. From the beginning the journey wasn’t easy. After years of constantly being worried about accidentally getting pregnant, it turned out I was infertile. And husband was sporting a few million less sperm than he ought to. We tried to get pregnant. Then we went to a doctor and had tests. Then we tried some more things to get pregnant, finally succeeding after nearly 4 years, and we had a baby. A brilliant, gorgeous, blue-eyed baby girl. She was the best and most important thing that ever happened to me. She still is.
Being a mama was a challenge, but a good one. One that made me grow and stretch and that felt fulfilling. I loved it. My daughter and I were incredibly close. It was joy to be with her and watch her learn. We came up with adventures to go on and things to do each day. When she reached 5 years old, I knew that we would homeschool because I adored being around her. I love teaching her and watching her discover things. I love listening to her narratives.
And I thought that was it. That was my picture of Mama. Me and my girl.
And then…turns out infertile doesn’t mean sterile. After years of knowing we couldn’t conceive on our own and years of thinking that we would need help and a lot of money to have another child, after wrestling with the fact that we only got to do this whole journey once, after coming to terms with that and being okay with that…after all that (roughly 6 years of all that) it turned out I got to be mama again.
She arrived fast, and with a full head of dark hair. She was a surprise in every way possible, from the hair, to her size, to her dark eyes, to how angry she got. Born in Leo, in the year of the Dragon, and she was going to let everyone know it. Everything was different with this baby. It was not a peaceful gazing at the baby and becoming a mom. I feel like I was still slightly surprised by her until she was nearly 6 months old. She had a tongue tie and a lip tie that made it hard for her to get enough milk at first, and she would get a lot of air when she nursed. This made her gassy, and hungry and MAD. So mad. I was shocked by her arrival (40 weeks is not enough to get over nearly 10 years of infertility), and then shocked that she was always upset. Except for the brief hours when she was sleeping. It was nothing like the mama I had envisioned. It was hard, and exhausting and finally at 4 weeks old we got her tongue tie clipped and everything seemed to let out a breath.
Here we are now, big kid is 7, and tiny is 15 months (as of yesterday). Mama looks a lot different from here. Mama is tired. Mama is trying. Mama frequently finds herself short tempered and stressed out. Mama is trying to not yell. Mama is trying to learn new languages to speak to her kids the way she wishes she had been spoken to. Mama is trying so hard to let her girls know she is there for them. Mama is being a mama.
That is the only M word that comes up for me because it is so much of me. There’s another M word: ME. These days, Mama and Me are one and the same.