Eight years ago today, at 5:47 p.m. Eastern Time, I became a mother to a son for the first time. His birth was very different from his older sister’s, as was his temperament and personality. I became a full-time stay-at-home mom when he was born, so he was always at my side. Money was tight, so unlike his sister, he didn’t get to partake in Gymboree classes or some of the other “Mommy and Me” activities that I indulged in with her. I had taken up babywearing, and he was my little guinea pig, trying out a hundred different styles and brands of carriers before we settled on a favorite few. I literally carried him everywhere–and loved it.
But so much time with me made me fear that I was growing a “Mama’s Boy”. I wanted him to have some independence. So I enrolled him in a twice-weekly preschool program. There were plenty of tears the first day–but not from him! While he was still my sensitive cuddlebug at home, he was at ease with separating from me to make new friends and try new things. At some point when I wasn’t looking, he developed his own sense of identity and independence. Which is what we want for our children, right?
He’s still a fiercely independent boy. He plays football, rides his bike all over the neighborhood, and begs to have sleepovers and campouts with his friends. I’m trying to learn to let him go, a little bit at a time. But as anxious as he is to grow up, I am just as anxious to freeze him in time, to cast some magical spell that will keep him my little boy; if he stays this little, he won’t want to venture into the big bad world, and I can keep him near me where he will be protected. I know that’s irrational, but hey, I’m a mom and we’re entitled to harbor irrational thoughts now and again.
Which brings me to the second part of this post. It’s a wonderful poem by one of my favorite poets, Carol Lynn Pearson. My father-in-law introduced me to her when he gave me her collection, Beginnings and Beyond, from which this excerpt comes:
Motherhood has ruined me for life.
I want to nurse the world
A continent to a breast.
I want to cut up waffles
For all the third world
Send the dictator to his room
Ground the drug dealers
Wash out the pornographers’
Mouths with soap
And spray organized crime
With Black Flag.
I want to make all the politicians
And all the executives sit on the couch
And memorize the golden rule
And stand up and say it in unison
I have such illusions of grandeur:
I am a mother.
Today also happens to be Katie’s birthday. It was pure serendipity that my son–her Godson–was born on the same day. Please join me in wishing both of them a very happy day!