Ok, so I’m noticing something. I have not cried with Avery like I cried with Briar. I cried so much with Briar. I think back to the early days, weeks and months and all I remember (for the purposes of this entry let’s say) is cradling her in my arms and weeping. Her beauty, her smell, her sheer existence was so perfect. I am so grateful for that experience, for loving that hard and that totally. I have never before been so completely in a moment or in an experience. How awesome that my first time really living lasted for so long. I do think, and I realize I say this at the risk of sounding part greeting card, part Lifetime movie of the week, that being a mom is going to forever embrace me in the act of living in the moment.
Yes, I do let myself rise out of my body and go to a special place when the Chinese water torture experience they call The Backyardigans comes on and bleets that hateful audio rap vomit misery….yes, that made no sense, but let’s see how literate The Backyardigans leave you.
Where was I? Crying. Living. I have realized is that living alongside Briar and Avery I have moments when I am aware of the passage of time. Lately I have been witnessing Briar shed her infancy like the delicate skin of a snake, I follow behind her catching a light in the corner of my eye, a bit of skin left behind. Today it was: Hiding.
This doesn’t mean anything to you, “hiding,” but to have spent the last months playing with Briar and ‘hining’ with her.
To hear that ‘d’ take the place of the ‘n’ made a lump grow in my throat.
Mommy. Mommy hiding with Briar.
Yes, my sweet Briar, mommy is hiding with you.
I thought I might die from the ache of knowing that like so many other things, Briar is leaving a part of her behind. She is surging ahead into the territory of kids. The soft, devastatingly beautiful cherub I cooed over, the sweet fingers that brushed my torso and breast as she nursed, the little body that burrowed between Sean and me for more nights than not over the first year of her life is being left behind. She’ll always be there in my heart. At night as I drift off to sleep I can conjure her up, feel her little body next to mine. I can remember how it felt to wake up, keeping absolutely still to revel in our position, her nose pressing against mine, her long lashes dusting her full cheeks. For now though, as she sprouts ringlets that test our ability to impose consequences, as she grows into her huge blue eyes, as she chooses to walk the stairs herself rather than be carried, I am working to celebrate the new Briar she is becoming. I know that I shall love her too, and one day I’ll mourn that incarnation of my first born.
I never wanted to say it, because it’s so awful to have something truly be inevitable, but I am going to say it:
Oh mom. Oh my sweet, sweet mom. I cannot imagine with daughters at 33 and 27 how much you must hurt. How unfair for all of us that becoming moms didn’t make us perfect. The world should make us capable of perfection so that we can protect and forever please our children. I forgive you for anything you regret and thank you for everything you have done, whether I have known it or not.
And to any women who have not yet become moms, let me warn you it hurts more than anything you can ever imagine, but man is it worth it.
I have found the paradox, that if you love until it hurts, there can be no more hurt, only more love.