Wednesday, December 5, 2007

I've become my mother — or every mother

Every once in awhile, I leave Mikko in someone else's lap when I have to do something super exciting like, I don't know, pee, or bend down to pick something up (he's a big kid, so my back much prefers this option). If I'm out of the room and hear him start to fuss, I try to hurry back because I know he needs me specifically if he's hungry or tired.

I was thinking about how I looked at my parents as a little kid — those people who meant to me familiarity in a room of strangers, reassurance and safety when I was sure ghosts were hanging out around my bed, food and provision when I needed something in particular, knowledge and competence when I had a problem to solve.

And I realize, I'm that person now to someone. I am Mother. Not just a person now, but sort of an icon.

Because, as I look back, I realize that my parents, though excellent in those roles, were really just people under it all — only human, not all-knowing, infallible, unconditionally loving in every second. And that's a relief, because I sure as heck am not those things either.

But, see, it doesn't matter, because like it or not, that's how your child will see you for a long time, and you just sort of have to embrace the role and do what you can to build and maintain the trust they give so freely.

When I walk into a room after a 5-minute absence and Mikko's crying in someone else's arms, he'll see me enter and his cries will change — at once abate (in sadness and anxiety) and intensify (in energy). They'll transform into a sort of hiccuping, reaching-out, half-laughing sort of cry that's equal parts relief, reproach, elation, and expectation of needs met.

I am Mother, and I am all important to my child. Do I deserve the title? Certainly not. But I'll do what I can to earn it.


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