Splitting HeirsMay 3, 2010 at 2:18 pm | Posted in Lollipop | 35 Comments
Tags: Balance, Birth, Children, Family, Kids, Motherhood, Parenting, Pregnancy, Relationships
When the e-mail from Lollipop’s school popped up, my first thought was: “Tuition is due. Tell everyone in the house.” My institutional memory, my monthly to-do list, the routine I keep flowing, will more than likely be disrupted this month.
Bun will be here. I will be busy. And tuition? Will still be due.
But when I read the message, it wasn’t the usual monthly reminders. There’s going to be a breakfast on Thursday. To celebrate Mother’s Day.
To Be or Not To Be
I want to be there. And I don’t want to be there.
I want to accompany my Lollipop to our first mother-daughter event. She’ll probably wear her Cinderella dress or maybe the Sleeping Beauty one. The light-up sneakers that look like gigantic coffee mugs on her lithe little legs. Maybe a headband. She’ll carefully sip water from her glass cup and tell me how she’s practicing so, one day, she won’t spill anymore. She’ll show me the rabbits, the butterfly garden, and her favorite of the farm felines, the one she calls “Puff Cat.”
Part of me longs for this. But another part? Wants to be in the hospital, in labor, in the throes of newborn-ness. Part of me wants to be meeting Bun. Part of me wants to Not. Be. Pregnant.
Already, it feels like I’m splitting heirs.
I’m having to make an impossible choice. Between one child and another, between who gets my attention and who has to wait. Granted, this time the choice will be made for me. Either Bun will be here by Thursday, or he won’t. I will be able to go to the breakfast, or I won’t.
But how do I explain this to my daughter? How do I explain that this first big moment might be eclipsed by another first big moment?
Already, I can tell that she knows. Life — her life — is changing. And she’s not sure what to do about it.
One moment, she cuddles up next to me to read issue after issue of her favorite magazine. Then she chews up carrots and spits them out at the dinner table.
She slips in bed beside me for a few silent snuggles as the sun comes up. Then she wails on the cat and tosses footballs at the dogs.
She helps unload the dishwasher and put away the laundry. Then she flings herself to the ground and screams at the very suggestion that she share her tricycle.
She understands what’s coming. And she doesn’t. She is herself. And she is not herself.
The I of the Storm
I wonder, is it because I am not myself?
I can’t hold her. I can’t bathe her. I can’t dig in the sandbox or bend down to draw hopscotch squares on the driveway.
There are so many can’ts, too many wants. For both of us.
I want to believe that it will be better soon, after Bun arrives. But I will still be tired, impatient, sore. Perhaps more.
And she will still have to share me — with myself and my current physical and emotional limitations but also with a new person who has pressing needs all his own.
I worry there’s not enough of me to go around. I worry about how deeply she feels this. I worry that she’s hurt, that she can’t explain it, that I can’t make it better.
There are so many can’ts. Too many wants. For both of us.
Is mothering always a balancing act? Is there such a thing as balance? What are your “cant’s” and “wants”?