I actually wrote this piece several years ago. Today my son turns 20. Twenty. No longer a baby, no longer a boy scout, a dancer, or a teenager. He is really and truly a man, and I couldn’t be more proud of him.
So take heart, my mama friends who struggle with kids who learn differently, kids who stretch you, who baffle you, who make you doubt your ability to do this momming gig. Our Father’s got them. And in His time, they will turn out to be far more than you dare to imagine…
Better Than I Imagined
My finger was bleeding. As I watched the crimson bead form on my fingertip I wished, not for the first time, that I was more skilled with a sewing needle. I reflexively put the injured digit in my mouth and looked down at the size 10 men’s ballet slipper resting in my lap. I had to get the elastics on before my son’s next lesson. Resuming my work, I smiled as I thought of all that had led to this rather surreal moment. My son, the ballerina?
My last nerve was exposed and raw, just waiting for a spark that would ignite it like the fuse on a stick of dynamite. When my daughter entered the room in tears, the match was lit.
We’ve been in the middle of rehearsals for a theatrical production and the choreography wasn’t turning out as she’d hoped. The grand visions in her head simply weren’t panning out in the sphere of reality and as a result, she felt stuck and unable to continue.
This sweet, smart, sensitive daughter of mine is my polar opposite in many ways. Most notably, she is emotionally expressive, while I am not. My daughter and I have a major disconnect in this area, and as I said, on this particular day I was already operating with the last nerve ready to be tweaked.
“Have you ever thought about trying some positive motivation?”
My friend’s words were spoken gently, with a hint of hesitation. Even so, I bristled. Spouting off some lame excuse, I ended the conversation, hung up the phone, and nursed my stinging pride. Positive motivation? What did she think I was, some screeching harridan, oppressing my children with my negative parenting? Harrumph!
Aiming carefully at my subject, I shot blind. Lifting the camera, I squinted at the LCD screen but could still see nothing; the brightness of the mid afternoon sun rendered it worthless. I tried again, choosing my angle with care, holding perfectly still. When the breeze died down enough for the vibrant, violet bloom to still, I pressed the shutter once more. Shrugging, I walked on, waiting for the next flower or critter or bit of beauty to catch my novice eye.
If there was ever any question that I am emotionally stunted, this morning laid all doubts to rest. For weeks after my daughter tied the knot, friends would ask how I was faring, how my mama heart was adjusting to the loss of one of my chicks. I would smile and assure them I was fine, that in my steely emotional fortitude, I hadn’t even cried on the day of the blessed event. Oh, I got all choked up and lumpy in my throat that day and I did almost lose it when they ran the gauntlet and drove away. But I managed to suck the tears back into my eyeballs and make it through just fine, thank you very much.
It took a full four months after the fact for the first tears to fall. I missed my baby. A few genteel tears fell like a soft spring mist one morning and that was that. So I thought.
I’m a serious procrastinator. Better to just come out and own it rather than make lame excuses, don’t you think? Many moons ago I promised my online friends some pictures of the blessed event of my daughter’s wedding. Today marks six months of wedded bliss for her and my new son, so I find it a fitting time to finally share some of the fun of that magical day.
When I became pregnant for the first time, having endured several months of fertility treatments, I was confident that I knew exactly what I was getting into. I’d read books and articles, I’d studied other parents in my sphere, and in my youthful arrogance I was sure I’d be the perfect mama.
Then, after birthing my daughter, reality walked up and b*#ch slapped me, knocking me flat on my smug posterior leaving my ego bruised and bloody. Dazed, I realized I didn’t know squat. This motherhood gig was HARD.