Three years and nine months ago, two blue lines changed my life forever. I took that pregnancy test just to prove to myself that I wasn't. I was. Today my daughter, Sophie Gene, is turning three and sometimes, even though she is as much a part of me as one of my limbs, as much as I love her, I still expect this whole thing to be some big mistake or a strange practical joke.
As a little girl, I wanted to be a mother. My mom tells about how I would lift up my shirt and try to nurse my dolls. But when I came into my teens and twenties, I crossed motherhood off of my list of things to do (for several reasons other than that of pure terror).
For one, I felt that mothers are/were the most scrutinized creatures on the planet. Just ask anyone you know--her mother fucked her up in one way or another. The psychoanalysist's question, "Tell me about your mother," has become a cliched joke. Crazy, weird, and just plain evil people blame their lives on their mothers.
Even more frightening to me before having Soph, was the knowledge that mothers can be, and often are, crazy themselves. Ever read Beloved or Divine Secrets of the Ya Ya Sisterhood? Crazy mothers are everywhere--just turn on the TV or look in your backyard. My own mother definitely had her crazy moments. Some of my most vivid childhood memories of her are her bimonthly screaming and crying breakdowns on the state of the house. She once attacked me with a wet towel I had left on the floor. I was afraid of The crazy mother because I knew I had the potential to be her. When Janz was two, I threw his toy fishing poll across the room and broke my favorite vase. I once lit Erik's favorite baseball cap on fire (in the barbecue grill of course--safety first). The line over to crazy didn't look to hard to cross. I'd been on the other side a time or two.
I also knew that whatever I did, I would never be a perfect mom. During my entire pregnancy, an imaginary but very mean OB nurse/drill sergeant marched around with her clipboard bombarding me with questions. "How many wet diapers should a newborn have each day? What is cradle cap? How do you tell the different between real and false labor? Do you have enough onesies and booties? What is this--a pacifier? Haven't you heard about nipple confusion? And what is this? Baby powder with cornstarch? ! Didn't you read our memorandum about babies breathing in cornstarch and its link to SIDS? What kind of mother do you think you'll be anyway?"
Well--the truth is, I'm not the kind of mother I thought I'd be. Sophie still sleeps with a bottle, something I swore she'd never do, and she's THREE for Christ's sake. I let her eat in front of the TV on a regular basis. I've had WAY more crazy mom moments than I care to share. I pretty much expect the mommy police to show up at any moment of the day.
I suppose that at times I do feel like a member of the strange cult of motherhood. I've been through all the initiation rites. I've been pooped on, puked on, handed a booger. My mother, who by the way is now one of my best and dearest friend, assures me often that Sophie is a smart, sweet, dear little girl rather than the possessed demon child that I sometimes think she is.
So happy birthday Sophie. I guess someday I'll get used to the fact that I'm your mom. I promise to keep trying my best to do my best for you.
Today's best thing about being a mom:
While she was playing in the "Funplace" at McDonalds today (I know--germy gross etc., but it's her birthday after all.) Sophie managed to rip her dress. When I asked what happened, she said, "The stepsisters did it mom!"
Today's worst thing about being a mom:
My back is totally killing me from lugging around all 40 lbs. of my very sturdy little gal.