I cannot believe that I haven’t written a post in almost a year. It’s been so long since my last post, I had to reacquaint myself with how WordPress works. In my defense, I’ve had a pretty good excuse as to why I’ve been so slack…
Meet Giavonna Grace, my beautiful excuse for neglecting the blog (and the dishes currently in the sink). She joined our family in dramatic fashion on Christmas Eve (22 hours of labor followed by an emergency C-section) and she’s become such an integral part of our family, it’s hard to remember life before her or imagine it without her. I’ve worn a lot of hats in my life thus far-chef, artist, actress, designer, writer, marketing wiz, Patron Saint of Earthworms to name a few-but the hat that fits best and is by far the most comfortable, is the one called “Mom”. She is amazing. She makes me a better person. She makes me want to be an even better person. I am floored every day at how the heart’s capacity for love can keep getting larger and larger when you have a child. There are times when I literally feel like my heart is going to pop from the love I feel for this tiny person.
It is awe inspiring.
It is terrifying.
I’ve always considered myself a “tough chick”. Considering my blog’s name is “The Domestic Badass” , this probably doesn’t come as a shock to you guys. If you know me, it probably comes as even less of a shock. But what may surprise you is how much softer I’ve become since she was born. I know it’s shocked the hell outta me. This revelation hit me one night while I was nursing her before bedtime and struck me with as much force as if I’d been physically punched in the gut.
I felt a gripping fear.
For someone who lives life pretty fearlessly, this was especially disconcerting.
It started as I was thinking about how old I’d be when she graduates high school and rolled right into “will I live to see her get married” land. And I started to sob silently at the thought of my little girl being left alone, without her mommy some day. Then I started thinking about my own mom and how utterly destroyed I’d be if anything ever happened to her. Needless to say, by the time the baby was asleep, my eyes were red, my nose stuffed up and my daughter’s hair was soaked from my tears. When I emerged from the bedroom, my hubby asked, “Did she go down ok?” I nodded and started to sob. “Baby, what is wrong?” he asked, concerned. And the floodgates opened. “I can’t stand the thought of her being alone! Who will she have once we are gone? We should have another baby so she’ll always have someone.” I was a hot mess. Luckily, hubby was the voice of reason (and sanity). “Babe, we’re all gonna be around with her for a very long time! She’s only a few months old!” Then he put his arms around me and let me cry it out.
Now, I’d like to say that the post partum hormones were fully to blame for my meltdown. But the truly honest part of me knows that’s not the case. I worry more now. I worry about the big things-the world and the evil people in it. I pray that my daughter will never meet with the horrors I’ve seen on the news. I worry even more about the earth and how people are poisoning it for profit. I worry about her growing up as a woman in a society where misogyny runs rampant. I worry about smaller scale things, too. Like will she get teased for having an “old mom”? Will we be as close as my Mom and I are? Will she want to live close to us when she’s grown? And don’t even get me started thinking about the first time her heart gets broken.
But for all the increase in fear and worry, there is the positive side, which trumps all of that.
My capacity for love and empathy has gone through the roof. My ferocity and yes, even my fearlessness are greater than before I became a mom. There is literally nothing and no one that I wouldn’t go up against to protect that little girl. I’d give my life to keep her safe.
My family bonds, which were already like iron, are even stronger.
The love I have for my husband has increased. Watching him transform into a Daddy has been beautiful.
I have even more respect and admiration for my sister, who, despite constant pain, cares for my daughter as if she were her own.
I have an even deeper appreciation for my own Mom. Seriously, I’ve only been at this ‘Mom Gig’ for four months. She’s been going strong for over forty years. I marvel at the fact that she’s still sane and has a sense of humor. Watching her revel in the role of ‘Grandma’ has been the absolute best. And seeing my Dad tear up at the sight of his Granddaughter melts my heart.
I’ve discovered that having a child means learning to live with your heart residing outside of your own body. And let me tell you, it takes some getting used to. You feel so much. It’s a wonderful and frightening, soul-shaking and life-affirming crazy, amazing ride and I’m so honored to be on the front car of that ride, arms in the air, laughing and screaming up and down the hills with my little Sprout at my side, giggling all the way.
I’ve also discovered that it truly does take a village to raise a child. And in that village, there are no people more important than other mothers. The birth mothers. The step mothers. The Godmothers. The childless women who are like mothers to kids both young and old. The newbies and experenced. You all contribute so much and are so loved. So here’s to all the moms, particularly the moms of my village and especially to my Mom and Sister, who are with me on that crazy, amazing ride called ‘Motherhood’. May you be shown the joy and love that you share with us all, not just today, but every day!