As my Dad was leaving this weekend he leaned in, kissed my head and whispered, “You have no idea how proud I am of the person you are,” while tears entered his eyes. Actually, I thought, I do know. But let me rewind a bit.
My middle daughter turned 4 and just because you asked that’s almost a full hand’s worth of fingers. The guilt I’ve felt sandwiching her between her two sisters weighs heavily on my mommy-soul. There is just something about this girl, a je ne sais quoi, which sounds foreign because that’s exactly how it feels and I believe is has something to do with her middleness. Some things about her have yet to be revealed, like the petals of a flower that stay hidden even in the sun.
One thing that has always remained constant is her love of animals. I decided to throw her one heck of a 4th birthday in order to absolve my guilt in the form of live lovable animals as the sacrificial lambs (although none of them were actual lambs). The planning, coordinating, and effort to pull off a kid’s birthday party is not for the faint of heart. It seems like just yesterday I was swaddling her as a baby and suddenly it’s the morning of her turning 4 and I’m Googling does homeowners insurance cover Guinea Pig bites? As Kathy was setting up the animal enclosures 10 minutes before 40 people descended upon my house, I thought how can I be one of those mothers without feeling like one of those mothers?
Like so many things in motherhood we tend to assign negative terms and then lump ourselves or others into meaningless categories: the helicopter parent, the cool mom, or the cryptically vague, but universally understood, “one of those moms”. It’s a combination of unattainable supermom mixed with is she on the verge of a nervous breakdown? with just a sprinkling of Pinterest and sugary sweet Insta-stories.
I’d like to reclaim all these judgmental terms because there is a method to all of our madness. At the root of the root is the love we have for our kids. I wanted to do something special for Madeleine because she deserved a fuss--she has a good heart and I want her to know that I see her. I am proud of the little human she is becoming.
So when my Dad made the statement above, the thing is, I do actually know because he helped shape me, as I am helping shape her. So if by one of those mothers you mean one who cares deeply and loves consciously, then yes, I suppose I am.