I remember when I first became a mother. I remember because I couldn’t let go of my baby. Literally. I held onto her for a full two weeks, I think, after a long and painful labor. I remember being challenged by the (now seeming simple) act of breastfeeding. I remember discarding many of the modern day conventions built to make money out of women raising children and knowing, finally, that everything you really need is already built in. I was lucky that way. I also know down to my ragged bones that if someone delivered a baby, or even a kid on my doorstep I could be a good mother to that child, even without the built in perks.
My daughter is fifteen and it’s the first day of tenth grade. She’s making her own lunch for the first time. I know, I know. Don’t even go there. You see, having just the one kid, and loving being a mother has made me, well, a little resistant to this idea that they eventually grow up and leave. Or grow up at all. I only hope I haven’t doomed the poor girl with my over-protection and coddling. You know I have. You’re sitting there, thinking, wow. She has probably totally fucked up that kid just by trying to be a good mom. And it’s probably true. But I think, in our own ways, we fuck up our kids. We just do. They have to live to overcome the baggage we leave them with.
I can only hope that I left her with enough good to make up for it.
Next comes driving and then college and then…can’t we slow the clock? Does everything have to always move so quickly?