I don't really know. I think it has something to do with the fact that I fell asleep on the couch at 2am this morning holding a sweaty little boy who needed to cuddle. I think it has something to do with the fact that I held said little boy in the crook of one arm while I vacuumed the entire house today with the other arm because that little boy is scared of the vacuum if he is ground-level with it. I know I can't stand to hear him cry. I know that before I had him, I could largely ignore a baby crying, but now the sound sends my blood pressure soaring. I know it means that day after day I leave my cute purse hanging on its hook and opt instead to throw my wallet and chapstick into a bookbag-turned-diaper-bag and walk around looking like I'm still a college student.
I don't know how I rank as a mommy, but I know that I fall short compared to some women I know. I don't sew, or cook a lot, or have coordinated dressy outfits for Topher to wear to church. But as far as the really important things, I think I measure up. I stay home with him, even when sometimes I daydream about having a career of my own. I hold him each and every time he reaches for me. And those times when I don't really know what to do with him, I just give him kisses and hope that it's enough. The other night he started crying and we couldn't figure out why. He passed his bedtime of 8:30, passed 9:30 and 10:30 and just kept crying. It was like having a colicky newborn again. We tried milk, water, ice, toys, change of rooms. The only thing I knew for sure was that whenever I would try to put him down, he would cry harder. So I didn't put him down. Finally, shamelessly using the animals, we distracted him enough to break the spell of his crying. I got the feeling that he had just started crying and couldn't remember how to stop. And then once he had calmed down, he took a bottle and fell asleep after 11pm. It was one of those nights when I was sure this would be our only baby.
I miss doing things on my own time, instead of jamming in brushing my teeth and curling my eyelashes whenever he lies down for a nap. But when his little voice says, "Ma ma ma" over and over again, I can barely contain my love for him. Being a mommy is so complex. You feel a thousand different emotions a day. When he wouldn't stop crying, I was so frustrated with him, but not because he was inconveniencing me or giving me hypertension. I was frustrated because I couldn't figure out how to help him. Whenever I lay him down for a nap, it feels like unloading my arms of a great burden. When he wakes up and I go to lift him to me, it feels like getting a part of myself back that was missing.
I'm scared when I think down the road and suddenly I have a 2-year-old, a 6-year-old, a 12-year-old. I don't feel like I'll ever mature enough to be a mom to someone at those ages. I'm afraid I won't be disciplined enough, or that I won't be as put-together as the other moms. Mostly I'm scared that once Topher outgrows the need for me to hold him, I won't know how to fix things for him anymore.
I don't know what a mommy is exactly, or why it's such a normal thing to be. It doesn't feel particularly normal. It feels like I will never stop worrying. It feels like a lot of pressure to become someone that Topher will be proud to call his own. It feels a little bit like choking whenever I stop and think how lucky I really am to have such a robust and bright-eyed child. Being a mommy isn't just something that I have added to my resume, it is something that I am ever becoming. And I hope for his sake that I'm becoming a good one.