Today my daughter rode two horses bare back at camp. I paid $695 for one week, Monday-Friday, 9-5. When I was 8, having that experience would have fulfilled all my childhood dreams. All I ever wanted was to have a horse, I was obsessed at that age. I spent $931.78 on my dogs. That was a dental cleaning for Olive and a bag of puppy food for Gnocchi. When I was 8 that was two months rent plus some left over.
My childhood memories aren’t super clear until about the age of 8 and honestly those are some of the happier years I can remember. Comparing the parallels between my experience and my daughters always makes me feel like I’m doing an ok job. Mostly I just try to give her all the things I didn’t have without going too far in that direction and spoiling the shit out of her. I have to be aware of not imposing my ideals on her and allowing her to be her own person with her own interests and individuality. Most of my healing has happened since being a mom. I’ve been lucky enough to build a life….. no, fuck luck, I’ve worked my ass off to build a life where I can be worthy of my children and give them a magical childhood. The bar was set kind of low so to them it’ll seem normal but I’m relieved at that thought even. It doesn’t have to be exceptionally good as long as it’s not exceptionally bad.
From the archives & originally posted on 10/3/2014
It has been quite some time since I last posted. A full pregnancy term plus 8 months to be exact. Yep, I did what those closest to me thought I would never do. I had a baby. A little wonderful, hilarious, perfect baby girl. Most people know her name but for the sake of anonymity we will call her babe 🙂
I know everyone feels their children are special but this one truly is, you only have to meet her to see it. Having her has been the most eye opening experience I have ever had. Its made me realize how different I am from where I have been in my life, how happy I can be, how so much has changed….and how so much is the same, and how terrifying that is if I choose to chew on that for a while. Holy shit does it keep me honest.
Having babe has made me realize how priceless living in the moment really is for two reasons;
1. My past is kind of heart breaking. I realize that now more then I ever could have before. There are moments I look at her and I’m filled with such extreme joy I think I might burst, and then, because of that same happiness, its all countered by a deep sadness. There are so many things I never got to experience, so many irrational fears, shes already so tough. And then I feel great relief.
2. You have zero control. Over almost anything. All you have is the moment. I spend so much of my time unconsciously memorizing small details…..and being incredibly paranoid 😉 no but really. My current fear, ebola 🙂 Ive always been a control freak , and therefor terrified of all that is outside of my realm of control, but having a child heightens and morphs that into a whole new kind of monster. It isn’t as simple as just being afraid anymore. Im afraid of things for myself and then it turns into what that will mean for her. A great example is the dentist. I have a debilitating fear of anything dental. Ask anyone who knows me well. They can confirm this because at some point they have probably had to hold my hand, drive me, talk me off the preverbal ledge, or drag me to get me there in the first place. Its so bad I literally have to bring a change of clothes because as I like to so glamorously put it, im a nervous sweater. Poor poor dentist. Well, what does that mean for my child? If i dont fix it, it could mean she has the same phobia. So, im working on it. Let me tell you, its fucking hard. My mantra, ” breath, be present in the here and now, ugh, fuck.” Like I just climbed the stairs.
Essentially im trying to handle my shit. My shit I thought I had already handled. No issues ever truly go away. You just find ways to live with them. They seem to evolve with time and your experiences. I thought for the longest time I had moved beyond my turbulent past. Ha, nope. Now it affects me in an entirely different way. I watch her and cherish her. (I know that sounds cheesy but I have no better way of describing it.) I feel like the luckiest person on the planet. Then I think to myself, “how did I survive.” “How did I go thru my childhood with never meaning this much to someone?” Well lets be honest, not someone, her. And then, again, a wave of relief. My babe will never know that. I remember when I was 7 months pregnant we got new carpet. We ripped up the old stuff ourselves to save money. As I was picking staples out of the floor boards i thought to myself “this is what its like to make a home for another person, with another person.” I only remember feeling that safe and comfortable once in my life, and it was brief. You always see the big preggo in the movie painting the nursery. She has pig tails and overalls. This was that for me. (our house is made of wood, like linken logs, no walls to paint.) it made me happy, then sad, then relieved.
And I guess thats the emotional roller coaster of being a new mother I’m grappling with here. HAPPY(her,surprise, joy, laughter). SAD (what I missed and the realization of how easy it is to give a shit about your kid) Relief (she has me and Jonathan and it will never be that way for her.) It is exhausting but yet, the best thing I have ever done. Trying to make sure she has a mother who is honest enough to handle her shit so it doesn’t spill over.
Im nothing if not introspective.
She is the best part of me, and Jonathan, she keeps both of us honest. She’s good for me. I guess I’m finding I’m kind of back where I began. Trying to enjoy all the wonderful things that make up my life without focusing on the possibility of losing any of it. Ultimately trying to convince myself I deserve it all. I’m not used to having so much to lose I guess.
Ps… Jonathan is the most amazing daddy any little girl could ever hope to have. Its been exceptionally special to watch that bond grow 🙂