We are planning to celebrate her birthday (of course!) but not with a Pinterest worthy party or a big outing. A few gifts, some frozen yogurt, and a day playing at home with Mommy, Daddy, and her big brother will mark the occasion. This is not because we don't want her day to be special, but because it is the kind of day that she likes best...With the second child, expectations are more realistic and plans more flexible.
We lay out our mats, grab blocks, bolsters and blankets and settle in to start class. It’s at this point that the rest of the world stops a bit. There are no cell phones, no TVs, no people other than the ones doing exactly what I’m doing. We focus on breath, we stretch, we downward dog and go through vinyasas. A few minutes in and there is no choice other than to focus on the exact move I am in, or I risk falling, injuring myself or hitting my neighbor—all things I’d like to avoid. I am there. And I am all in.
So, while I am sad that I might not clearly remember what it feels like to have a chubby toddler hand in mine or a ginormous preschooler hug on her first day of school...my hope is that in their place I will experience my fingers entwined with that of a woman’s as we prepare for her wedding, or the tight hug of a young adult as we drop her off for her first year at a university.
Looking back, these were the longest days of my life and I look back on them with such sadness for how I wanted it to be and how it really could have been. Having come off of such a high from an amazing birth experience to having the furthest from ideal hospital stay was like being hit by a truck heading into Ezra’s first few weeks of life.
Maybe the mother in your mind is super crafty and throws amazing parties. Maybe she works a big corporate job and balances that seamlessly with motherhood, never fighting 'mommy guilt' or feeling like she has to choose between work and kids. Whatever the mother in your mind looks like, may I gently remind you: she's not real. She has amazing qualities that you can work toward emulating. There are things you can learn from her. But just like a character from your favorite show, (Lorelai anyone??), as much as you want her to be real, she's not. And she never will be.
I have expectations of what a mother does and does not do. She does stay home and finish the laundry. She doesn’t go skateboarding at 10:30pm on a Thursday. She does make sure all the toys are put away. She doesn’t engage in an activity that could potentially injure her, limiting her capacity to care for her 9-month-old.