Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Mother/Child - Child/Mother

I have nothing new to offer about the many facets of motherhood. That being said, here's my latest "discovery."

I don't know why it is but I can't seem to shake the feeling I had when I was about 18 years old. You know -- feeling very grown up but at the same time being utterly clueless and hopelessly in need of parenting. Maybe that was just me but somehow I imagine it was true of many people to some degree or another.

The thing is, I'm 36 and feeling not nearly grown-up enough and I have no parents. (Maybe this is also true of many people to some degree or another.)

I learn more and more about myself every day that I spend with Sara. There are moments that feel so incredibly familiar and I realize that they evoke some kind of memory or connection that I shared with Mom. It's almost like she's there. Last night Sara threw her arms (those soft, squishy, skinny little toddler arms) around my neck and hugged me so tight and I felt so connected to my mother and my daughter at the same time that there were tears coming down my face that I couldn't have stopped had I wanted them to. But as wonderfully familiar as that moment felt, I'm convinced that I was actually feeling it as my Mom did. And it was... great.

Of course for every great moment there is the opposite. (Of course there is.) Tonight it came when I let both her and me get too tired, too cranky, too sickly-feeling and we both fell apart. She cried and screamed and squirmed (wet in the tub, natch) and I yelled and smacked her hand and immediately felt that nauseating remorse that reminds me that I'mjustthisclose to becoming one of Those People that you see on the 11 o'clock news with a horror story about shaken babies and deadbeat mothers who ought to rot in jail. And no amount of apologizing or consoling or asking her and God for forgiveness can unring that bell. It's icky.

What it all comes down to is this: I'm basically the same poseur I was 16 years ago. I like to play grown-up but the fact of the matter is I still need my Mom. Thing is, I've got this sweet little girl who needs me to be the Mom and I really don't want to blow it.

Time to grow up for real, eh? Yipes. How the heck am I supposed to do that?

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