Saturday, September 20, 2008

Reflections of my Mom

You sit before me in your little swing, sleeping. Your little mouth twisted up in a bow. Your hands relaxed. A little yellow fleece ducky sleeper warming your body. You are sweet, calm. You are beautiful.

Week 8, I wonder about this. Has time really slipped by this quickly. It never did with your brother it seemed the seconds and minutes seemed to stretch an hour out forever but I was a different person, in a different space, a different time in my life.

I am loving each moment with you from the sweet coos to the night time nursing. Even being so tired feels less painful. Not that I did not cherish any of this any less then I did with M. I am just more calm today about it all. And yet I cannot change the fact that time is speeding by for you and me and M and K. We have all changed so much in these first seven weeks of your life. I wonder about time and space and how quickly it all passes us by. If I do not stop and grab some moments they will be gone. Replaced by different and more exciting moments but never the same as now with my sweet little baby girl.

My mom told me recently that she was always wishing for peace and quiet when we were kids growing up. This was not meant in malice, I know this. She came to this country lonely and remains lonely in many ways to this day, by her own doing but still... at 68 that must be a regretful feeling. I understand what she means more and more as I grow older. Our relationship has always been strained and frustrating for me. Filled with unsaid things and memories that are mine and hers yet so different. There has been anger and even hatred on my part toward her and my family in the past. But I have come to peace with stuff. I choose just not to make it important any more.

Many of the fears I had swirling about M over the past weeks had to do with my fear that I was like my mom. My only example. And yet why? She was a good mom in many ways. Toward the end of my childhood when I think she wished for that peace and senerity from the children she was not a good mom in many ways but it was a hard time - our family slowly disintegrating because of depression and alcoholism in equal parts. She did her best with what she had.

She stayed home with three children, a house wife and mother. She had a high school education and no job. She stood up for us and tried her best. She loved us even with her strange ways of showing love. I ask her questions with this baby and let her in our world more and more. I do not fear the repercussions like I used to, of saying the wrong thing to her, to hurt her feelings. I know today at nearly 35 that what she did, leaving her family, her country, her language behind to live in this country was hard and scary and difficult. That she raised three children while her husband traveled the globe making nuclear plants a reality for countries that were once struggling small developing countries and are now super powers or at war or communist empires while my mom did the more difficult task of taking care of kids, a home, making a comfortable life for us as best she could with the limited tools in her tool box. I respect my mother more today then I ever have in the past.

At 35, I can finally see her for who she was back then learning a foreign language, living in a foreign land, making friends out of nothing and raising babies with little help from her spouse. The days that are chaos in my own house I think of her and her wish for peace and quiet. She said that she cannot believe she ever wished for that, she said 'look what I got? Peace and quiet and now I just wish for all the wild loud noise and mess and kids again.' You are starting your 8th week and I promise to never wish for peace and quiet, I promise to cherish the noise and craziness because one day in the not to distant future I may one day have all the peace and quiet I ever wanted and I do not think it is worth it.


PerfectMomentProject said...

Diversity, good schools and the lessons from home.

I like your thoughts... it ain't easy... but there are those perfect moments...

you might enjoy this lesson on free lunches, giving and Andy Griffith from this week.

My sister-in-law is trying hard to raiser a young community activist.

We can get free lunch, Mom!

K and J's mom said...

Beautiful post, C. I am glad you are finding peace with your own mom. This motherhood thing is so cyclical isn't it? The world just keeps turning and turning and turning...

melissa said...

This post reminds me of a picture/artwork thing I saw that said, 'I didn't listen to her because she was my mother & wouldn't know anything until I was much older.' It's funny how we gain perspective as we get older. Also, good for you choosing to savor every moment (even the crazy ones) with your kids!

jennifer said...

My mom wanted to let you know that she used to say the same thing about us (not that *I* was the loud one! HA!) but now realizes after seeing US with our kids that we get so much more help from the fathers compared to past generations that it was a 24/7 job with no relief. So often, as we all know, we start to clock-watch and sometimes, our mothers did not have anyone to step in to let them get off the clock, so to speak.