Yesterday was my first Mother's Day. Nick took me out on Saturday night and we left Aly with my parents. We had planned to do a nice dinner somewhere but we miscalculated (typical rookie parents!) and didn't allow enough time to drop Aly off and eat before our movie started at 7. So we caught what we thought was going to be a quick dinner at Dodies (but wow was the service slow and she forgot to bring Nick's salad). Then we went to see Iron Man 2.
I'll be honest. The movie was good but I only saw half of it. I kept thinking about my beautiful little daughter and wondering if I had left my parents with enough instructions to care for her. Nick reminded me that my parents had raised three babies and could certainly handle ours. But I kept picturing my baby crying, her little chin trembling and her toothless gums and my heart broke. Wouldn't she wonder why mommy wasn't there to make it all better? Wasn't it silly of me to leave her for a cheap dinner and a blockbuster? What if something went wrong and she stopped breathing? It took the wind out of my lungs with the thought that should something go wrong and she would die, I had forgotten to kiss her goodbye. I craved her smell, her warmth, her soft little feet. She intoxicates me and I was a junkie in need of a fix.
I never meant to love her this much. I'm at a complete disadvantage now.
I practically chafed through the last half of the movie--it seemed to me to be the longest movie ever. And then I jogged shamelessly from the theater to the car. We were only 3 minutes from my parents house but I ached to return to my baby. When we walked in, I tried valiantly to look at ease and calm, but I was near tears. It had been four and a half hours and a lightyear. And there she was, perfect and sleeping in her pappy's arms. He loves her too--not as much as me, but still a great love. He would protect her with his life as readily as I would mine. She was calm and at rest and I was conflicted. I had feared we were find her in tears and inconsolable. And now I realized a far greater ache: she was already beginning to leave me.
For nine months, I was her whole world. But now, already, slowly, but unmistakably and unavoidably, she is a butterfly with brand new wet wings. She still needs me very much, but she survived a few hours without her mama. She did better than I did. But I lifted her to my shoulder this morning and she didn't just curl up--she lifted her head and looked around, eyes wide open. Already she wants to explore, to see the world. She doesn't want to miss anything.
Does anyone know where the pause button is on this moment? Or a method that I can use to bottle this excruciating sweetness before it is lost forever? I realize I am being dramatic but the reality is that over and over, mothers have given one consistent piece of sage advice: enjoy it because "it goes so fast." And while the future is bright and my daughter will always be a source of beautiful fulfillment, I am already suffering the heartbreak of motherhood. My heart is forever wrapped around this independent little girl who, yes, will find her security and safety in me for a moment, but inevitably, if I do my job properly, she will spread those wings wide and let the wind carry her away from me.
So Happy Mother's Day to me. It is a beautiful thing to carry the proudly broken heart of a mother. Much to my surprise, she is worth it after all.