Sunday, May 13, 2012

To My Dear Alyssa, on Mother's Day

Dear Alyssa,

Someday you'll read this letter on your very first Mother's Day. I can't predict what will happen twenty, thirty years from now, but I know in my heart that I will be proud of you no matter what; and that you will always be my baby, my baby bee, my Alyssa-bee. I know, I'm a sentimental marshmallow. You've known this for years. But today, I can imagine how many different emotions are running through you as you hold your own little bundle of joy. I can't tell you how to be a mother to your baby, but I can tell you that as long as you have love in your heart - and you have so much - your baby will know this and your baby will thrive.

Three years ago today
In all my life, I have never done and will never do anything as significant as being your Mom. The moment you came into my life I was forever changed. I am many things - there is not just one me. But of all the things I am, the one I'm most proud of is being a mother. All daughters and mothers I think have interesting relationships. There's such a strong bond between mothers and daughters, that sometimes it puts them at odds with each other. I remember going through a phase with your grandmother when I was much younger - I was determined that no matter what, I would never be like her. As I grew older, hopefully wiser, I realized there was so much about your grandmother I admired. As a young mother to you, my goal every day is to be half as good of a mom to you, as your grandmother is to me.

You are amazing, Alyssa. You teach me new things every day. You are my biggest responsibility and it is an honor to have that distinction. Someday, on your first Mother's Day, I think you'll read this letter and know exactly how much I love being your Mom.

With so much love,

Monday, March 5, 2012

Mirror Mirror

The memory is so clear to me: hot tears streaming down red cheeks, nose all runny and congested, screaming and kicking, the feeling that no one in the world understood why it was absolutely imperative that socks not be worn today of all days. Nobody understands me! I remember feeling that way once upon a time long ago. My Mom was the enemy and life, as I knew it, was horrible... for that moment, at least.

On Saturday, that's exactly the same emotion I saw in Alyssa's eyes. "No! No! No socks! No socks!" Clock ticking; Wiggleworms class was starting in 15 minutes; we lived 20 minutes away; shoes and coat and hat still lying in a pile at my feet; there was no way we would make it in time. "No! No! No socks! No socks!" It was the end of the world. 9:55, 9:56, 9:57... class starts at 10am. My heart sank. I start to think, it's OK to miss a class. We'll just make it up next week - twice. Yeah, maybe not. I can feel the defiance rising. Mine, not hers. "I don't like this sock anymore! I don't like this sock anymore!" I think I'm about to explode, but I manage to take a deep breath.

Somewhere, a light bulb goes off. I hold out my arms to the little one standing in the corner, face all red, eyes wet with tears, nose drippy with "snozzies." I hear myself say, "Come here, baby, it's OK." And just like that, it's over. Alyssa comes running to me, so hard and fast that she knocks the wind out of me. That's OK, too. She's not crying anymore. She's also forgotten why she started crying in the first place. I soothe her and wipe the tears away. I talk to her in a low, slow, soothing voice. "We're going to see Ann Marie. We're going to play with the instruments, and see your friend Jasmine, and catch bubbles!" She's nodding her head now, looking at me with the biggest brown eyes I've ever seen. "So let's get going, OK? We've got to blow our nose, fix our piggy-tails, and put our (deep breath) socks on." Nothing but a silent nod. Life is good and I feel like I've come full circle from long ago.

Mommy's brown eyed girl

Alyssa's P.S.
It's not easy being two and a half. Most of the time Mommy and Daddy get me. But sometimes, it's just so hard to tell them what I need. Mommy always says, "Use your words." But I don't know what words to use. Sometimes I hope against hope that she'll read my mind, like she used to do when I was a little baby. If I cried she came to feed me, or change me, or hold me. She just knew back then. Now, I have to use my words. When did things change on me? Why doesn't she understand that I don't want to wear my socks because I want to see my pink toes... the toes I asked her to paint yesterday; when she held me close and whispered in my ear, "Look baby, I love your toes!"