Happy Mother’s Day

mamaandabigaillastdayIt seems as if all my bridges have been burned,
You say that’s exactly how this grace thing works
It’s not the long walk home that will change this heart,
But the welcome I receive with the restart.

Friday afternoon, after she’d soldiered through a morning that included not one but two shots in her doughy little thighs, Abigail and I spent our last remaining hours of the daylight cuddled up on the glider, snoozing on and off us two until my friends Jeanne and Lora stopped by for a visit.

(This is us on Friday, to your left. Look how cute my little mouth-breather is!)

This was probably the best thing that could have happened, for me at least. Instead of trying to do any number of things, my girl and I spent our afternoon in the very same fashion we have so many days prior, with her fast asleep on my chest for hours on end. I thought about moving her to the crib for a more solid, less lumpy, nap, but in addition to the Infant Tylenol, I think the only things that could make her feel better were copious snuggles and hugs.

I was right.

Tomorrow the nanny starts full time, ushering in a whole new chapter of our lives together. Up until now, her days have only been peppered with visits from others, with me as her constant. As excited as I am to return to work soon, my heart breaks and cracks knowing that this unfettered time together is coming to a close. Oh, and I know. Whatever it is you’ll say, I know. I do.

But how grateful I am for this feeling! How relieved am I for the golf ball-sized worth of sadness and longing lobbing itself in my throat at every turn, whether it be a glance at a picture I took of her when she was just two weeks old or the smell of spit-up that hangs in the air just outside her room?

That also could be poop. We new parents, we can barely tell the difference anymore.

Darkness is a harsh term don’t you think?
And yet it dominates the things I see

Not long ago, not long ago at all, I worried on the hour that the fear that pulsed through my veins where once flowed hope would be my undoing. Our undoing. I am certain were it not for the following two things it just might have, really:

1) A relationship with my mother that was shaky on a good day, the root of which we suspect could be blamed on undiagnosed postpartum depression. As I sat there, tears pouring from my eyes every day, more than once a day, looking down on my daughter, I knew she deserved better than what I got, that I’d spent 35 years in mourning for what I didn’t have with my own mother, and I would not let that be our fate.

2) My husband. Our families, namely our parents and my sister. My friends. My Internet Mamas. All of you.

On this Mother’s Day, my first, I am grateful for my little girl. I am grateful for my husband who never once worried about the kind of mother I was and would be, no matter how much I might have frightened him. I am grateful for my father, who spent hours sitting with me, listening to my fears and, as he has since I was a kid, clearing out the debris and the clutter so I could find my way again. I am grateful to Scott’s Mom, who came to sit with us on Fridays, bringing with her good cheer and humor, chocolate-covered cherries (just like my own mother always gave me) and someone else to witness AG’s changing table fun. I am grateful to Scott’s Dad and stepmom, who sent me to my room to sleep, took Abigail on a long walk so she could see their old haunts and fixed the Godforsaken changing table that brought me no short amount of misery every time I changed her diaper. I am grateful to my sister Kate who listened to me every single day, several times a day, several million texts a day, and reminded me each and every single second that I have always had it within me to be Abigail’s mom, and that every single time I listened to my instinct, everything turned out OK.

Mostly, I am grateful for grace, and the ability to start over because of it. I would never go back and change the dark early days of Abigail’s first weeks here, despite any slight, selfish worries I might harbor, thinking it harmed us in some way. I look down at her eyes, and how she smiles when she sees me now, and I let it go. And I know I can’t really start over, but I can walk forward unencumbered and faithful.

It is the best gift I could have received today.

Stars hide your fires,
These here are my desires
And I won’t give them up to you this time around
And so, I’ll be found with my stake stuck in this ground
Marking the territory of this newly impassioned soul.

–  Roll Away Your Stone, Mumford & Sons