January 27, 2012

Oh, Motherhood. I'll never quite get it!

I have something kind of hilarious and kind of pathetic to confess.  Yesterday Hannah Jane was a complete and total mess.  She was a public menace.  She felt like a stranger.  After a long talk, I thought I had unearthed all of these pearls of motherly wisdom about riding out the rough patches and accepting that kids are ever changing and somewhat unkowable, and then I wrote this poignant post about motherhood and how much wiser I suddenly felt.  Haha.

For some reason I never hit "publish" on that post.  Maybe it was because it was especially long and I like to read through every post top to bottom at least once before I publish and I couldn't do that because crabby Hannah Jane kept wandering past and I, feeling like I needed to heal her with nurturing, kept going overboard on the "Who are you today and what can I do to help you meet your new emotional needs?" junk that a mother does in desperation when she thinks her kid is going through some inner struggle that she hasn't mustered the courage to share yet. 

It was an emotionally exhausting day for everyone who encountered us (which included all of our culture club friends who witnessed the first public showing of HJ's full on attitude.  Silent treatment alternating with obnoxious yelling) but finally it was over.  Everyone was tucked safely into bed, Joe was out late at a Chamber of Commerce dinner, and I had a few silent moments to ponder on my new insights into motherhood.  And then...

Hannah Jane woke up sick.  LOL!  All of those hours spent trying to figure out what was around this new corner were simply me once again failing to realize that she was sick and just hadn't manifested all the symptoms yet.  I always miss it.

One time when she was a toddler she woke up and did this cry that she used to do right before she would throw up.  It was her sick cry.  But this time while she did the sick cry, she said, "Mom, I feel bad about who I am as a person..."  I freaked out!  What is wrong with my child?  What is she dealing with to say something so extremely intense and introspective at the ripe old age of 2?  Joe was saying, "Sky!  That's her sick cry!  Get her to the bathroom!  She's going to throw up!  That's the cry!"  I kept saying no, she was having some psychological crisis and she needed love!  Not a toilet!  And about that time she threw up down my back, said she felt better, and went back to bed.  It's like I never learn!

I always hesitate to assume she's sick if she's moody.  My dear friend Sarah once said, when a guest toddler was flipping out at her house, "She must be sick!  Or allergic to the dog!  Or hungry!  Or tired!  Because it can't possibly be that being with me isn't enough to make her happy!"  LOL!  I loved this bit of ironic humor and I think about it every time I want to make an excuse for one of my kids.  It can't be that I've raised them to be anything other than perfect angels!  They must just be hungry and therefore incapable of accessing their higher nature!   Assuming she's sick when she's moody just seems too convenient.  And I like to abuse myself in the mothering department, so I go with she's turning a corner and that just means that she needs a different kind of mother from the one I've been!  I can do this.  I can completely transform myself to meet the needs of this new daughter I suddenly have!  Talk about self-torment!

So that poignant blog post I typed about the daily transformations that mothers have to make from who they truly are to who is needed at the moment was just a bunch of hooey.  It was pretty good hooey, but hooey none the less.  Motherhood is far less dramatic than it felt yesterday.  It's pretty much about keeping people alive, educated, entertained, and hopefully a bit enlightened and I feel confident I have mastered most those things.  So I can't help but laugh at myself and feel seriously grateful that I never got around to clicking that publish button!

For the record, Hannah Jane was back on top of the world today, only slightly sleepy from having been up sick in the night.  I felt a little sick for a few hours and bounced right back.  We canceled our dinner plans at a friends' house just to be on the safe safe side and to keep our germs to ourselves.

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