I just put Nolie to bed, as I sit here and debate if I should pick up the living room or write this post, something interesting came to mind.
I wish I could blame having a messy living room at the end of the day on my 3 year old, but truth is I have never been organized and motherhood has not transformed me into the super organized mother I always envisioned I would magically become.
Thinking back through my pregnancy, I could not stand the sympathy looks I got from other parents as if I was being naive about my expectations or plans, as if I knew nothing. It was the “oh you just wait” look… You know what? A lot of them were right and a lot of them were wrong, but regardless, it felt very demeaning at the time and not what I wanted or needed. I think we should set out to support each other through these stages and not just tell each other “how-to” all of the time. I personally try to be very careful not to seem like I am giving advice to someone who is pregnant or with a first born as if I know better, because I don’t. I hopefully know better when it comes to Magnolia but that's about it. I can talk about my experience, but knowing that is all it is, my experience, and truth is, funny enough, I thought I knew a lot of things that I actually didn't when I was pregnant.
I was also more judgmental than I would like to admit, which I am constantly working on, exhibit A: I always knew that a choice about breastfeeding or not breastfeeding was a personal one that involves a lot of circumstances, and not for anyone else to judge which choice is better. I, however, naively thought it was odd for moms who did breastfeed to continue nursing after their baby reached 9 months - because clearly that was too old (ha!). Oh 9 months came and went, and neither Nolie or I were anywhere near being ready to stop. I went on to breastfeed until she was 2 years and 3 months!
Yes, being a mom in my case was biting my own tongue, a lot....
And of course I said some of the infamous, my kid won't act like that, my kid won't be into this kind of thing, my kid this my kid that, well surprise, my kid is their own person. Although my husband and I are here to guide her through, she takes us places we didn't even know existed. Thank goodness for that constant reminder that it is not our jobs to shape her to what we think she should be. As we guide her, while she finds her own way, she is constantly showing us our own. Who knew we were still going to experience so many new emotions and, so much of the time, learn more than we actually teach?
We also always knew she would be her own beautiful self, I guess we just didn't realize how much she would reinforce her strong self and personality through what becomes some of the most challenging moments, ha! It definitely takes us by surprise sometimes, but as she grows we realize that so are we. Truth is we are growing a lot from living these moments alongside her. It is one thing to imagine what might come and how we are going to react, and the other is the reality of actually living it and how we feel and react to it in the moment. Nolie is continuously growing and changing, and what worked yesterday might not work or help tomorrow, and so on. The reality is that we can't grow without challenges, and we can't grow without pushing ourselves, finding support, helping and loving ourselves through it. We are right next to her, growing as she grows, and if we see the things we are trying to teach her along the way shining through her it is because she observes our every move, words to her are meaningless without action, she learns by what she sees in us.
I hope she can see and feel every minute of every day the love that shines on us through and because of her. The joy and the pure happiness from even the smallest moments are so real, so tangible that it gives us fuel for all the rough miles ahead. Those miles are truly the necessary ones for us to continue to build a solid foundation for our journey together.
My husband may laugh at this one but I never knew I could get so incredibly frustrated and angry amidst so much love. I guess I didn’t expect to have those kinds of frustrations with Nolie, not until the teenage years anyway, ha!
But I also never knew that I could let the moment pass within mere seconds and not hang on to it at all, already being filled with love and inspired for the next chapter. Now if only I could put that to practice with everything and everyone else….
Perhaps what I would offer new or expecting parents through here is that parenting is a beautiful day-by-day journey. The reality is so much more rewarding, challenging, rich and amazing than all of our best laid plans and we will grow and learn just as much, if not more, than our little one.
I am not the super organized mother I always envisioned I would magically become, but my daughter thinks I am magic. She sees and values the good in me much more than she does the bad. I think that is quite magical, I hope to be more like her as I continue to grow up.