Before I became a parent most of what I knew about children was based on the constant stream of complaints that seemed to fall out of the mouths of parents all around and in great abundance: Kids smell, they're messy, annoying, pooping, time consuming leeches that drive you to drink. According to most accounts we see of parenthood the entire endeavor sounds rather awful, the kind of thing no one would willingly agree to subject themselves to for the next 18-20 years, and yet they do–
yet I did.
To my distinct recollection there was absolutely no proper, logical reason I decided we should have a baby. It bothers me to this day because it's one of the few instances in my life where I simply closed my eyes and jumped, driven against my will to the edge of a cliff. We call that biology, and it's more powerful that you would suspect. I disliked babies but loved children, and I approached my impending motherhood with skepticism and closely tethered excitement, lest things get too out of hand and the future really be as awful as they all say.
I noticed a long time ago that though a lot of children were just this side of really fucking annoying, there were good fun people here and there raising more good fun (small) people, the kind you can actually stand to be around. The kind you look forward to being around, even though they aren't your own. In that small glimmer of hope I hung all my dreams of motherhood. There was a chance, if we did it right and tried hard, that our kid would turn out to be an incredible human.
I never felt called to be a mother, I felt driven to procreate in what is probably the least romantic, sadly evolutionary way possible. I never fell in love with being a mom, with changing diapers and fixing sandwiches. I wouldn't even say now that I love being 'a mom.' I couldn't care less about being 'a mom.' I watch other women performing their daily devotions to the art of motherhood and I feel like a creature from the other side of the universe.
Being his mom is something else entirely.
I love being his mom in a way I can't even begin to grasp the top of before it burrows deeper into the center of me. I feel around the edges of it sometimes before I'm set back on my heels by the limitless number of things I just don't understand that make up this new world between he and I. I've given up interpreting it because I don't think I can.
It feels like something not normal to be this rocked by love. I'm sure it probably is normal, because mothers love their children, but then when I really sit down and think about it– Do all mothers really feel this? Maybe it's simply because it hit me so much later. I couldn't have loved a baby this madly, which is not to say that I didn't love him then, but looking at where we are compared to where we were it really doesn't compare one single solitary bit.
Maybe I'm lucky.
Last night as I was dressing him for bed we were rolling around on the ground together playing the body parts game. I name a body part, he points to it, and it gets smothered with attack kisses. It's one part educational to one part wrestling madness and there is lots of laughing in involved. He begged breathlessly, "More game, mom! More game!" I prepared for attack mode and shot back, "Where's yourrrrr..... arm! Where's your arm! Show me your arm!" Without pause he replied, "Don't be dumb! My arm's right there."
Everything is going to be okay.