Sunday, September 22, 2013
Little Lessons for my Little Man: Roles We Play
To my little son,
They tell me you are the size of a peach this week - and equally as fuzzy. I hear rumors I'll be getting little signals from you soon...flitters in my tummy that I will probably excuse as gas bubbles or nervousness. I'm so anxious to finally "hear" from you because I have so very much to tell you - so many things that I want you to know so that maybe you will just arrive in this world fully equipped for the cruelties and frustrations that will inevitably present themselves. If I could keep them all away, I would lay down my life to do that, but the fact is, we all have to experience them because they are the very moments that shape our character.
But...because there are things that I know, I will share them. You will listen to some and excuse others. Some will wedge themselves in your little psyche, and others will pass from one ear to the other without leaving a mark. Still, I'll offer them, and maybe one day, you will read these words and know that your momma loved you so much...even when you had yet to make yourself known...that she wrote these lessons down for you...just in case.
Carrying you around with me all the time, I've become very aware of my role as your protector. Sometimes we eat a blueberry muffin when we SHOULD be eating broccoli. Today, we enjoyed almost a half a bag of s'more flavored candy corn because your poor hormonal mother couldn't resist them when she went to Target to get shampoo. But, for the most part, we eat healthfully. I make sure you have all of your vitamins and have cut our caffeine intake down to almost nothing. We even eat pasta so that you will have the benefit of whole grains. (heaven forbid!) I go to bed earlier and take frequent mini-naps. We drinks water even though we would MUCH rather have Diet Coke.
And I try...oh how I try...to be peaceful for you. You'll soon learn, peaceful is not your mother's natural state.
In addition to being your protector, I've also taken on new roles at work. There's a lot of pressure on your mother right now to succeed, and it's very difficult for her to accept that there may be those who don't believe in her abilities. Doubt makes her angry, and that...tragically...gets passed down through her belly to little you who have nothing yet to anger you. It's the terrible injustice of pregnancy. But, hopefully, in so much as you now feel my pain and fear and frustration, one day I will intrinsically feel yours...even from miles away...and I'll be able to soften the world's blows by reminding you that YOU ARE MAGICAL.
Your mother's life has been marked by role play. With every new challenge comes a new role - athlete, dancer, princess, graduate, television personality, entrepreneur, activist. In short: achiever. What I've learned that I want you to understand is that those roles...those "titles"...they are not WHO I am, and they do not define me. Even when my number one title is "mom" (one that I am so thrilled to assume) - even that will not be equal to who I am as a person - as a human being on this earth. It has taken 33 years for me to understand this principle, and I still forget it 23 hours out of most days. My journey toward knowing myself has been wrought with frustration, and my efforts at excusing the judgments of others have been met with challenge upon challenge. (mostly self imposed) But, I'm starting to clue in that there is someone inside me who is better than the titles - better and brighter and stronger than the labels - someone who can light up her own little corner of this maze of a world we inhabit.
My prayer for you, my little man, is that you will not suffer so in understanding that your value has nothing to do with where you choose to devote your energies. What makes you so special is that you are the only you that there ever has been and ever will be. Whether you choose to be a baseball player, a zookeeper, a fashion designer, an earthquake predictor or a tap dancer, you will be YOU first and foremost. Any time you ever doubt your worth because someone has taken it upon his or herself to judge you (and there may even be people who get PAID to judge you!), you call me. It is my number one job as your mother (aside from making sure you get fed and live under a roof) to remind you that you are not the sum of your parts.
The thing that gives you value is that intangible, undefinable thing that we call a "soul". It's that force that makes you instinctively aware of right and wrong. It's like a soft wind inside you that leads you to be kind even when you know you have a choice not to be. It's where your ideas, your dreams, your aspirations and your memories live. It's how you know...without ever being taught...that love is the most important thing there is. Not approval - LOVE.
And I love YOU, tiny, peach-sized boy. I will try so hard to remember these words I have written down for you more regularly so that you don't have to taste the sour taste of anger. I'm sure you would much rather taste ice cream...which daddy just brought home for us....
Night, night, little man.