I called Danielle last week after her post on enjoying motherhood. We talked and talked about our parenting philosophies and ideals. I related to her how difficult it can be to figure out appropriate discipline with our strong-willed, smart (smart!), oldest son. She reminded me of an important realization I had in her very presence. She thought you might like to hear about it. I agreed.
Nearly four years ago I found myself with a tiny, handsome (grown-up looking!), hairy (his head!) little babe. He cried a lot. I cried a lot. I loved him, but I didn't know what I had gotten myself into. For months the colic lasted. He required the most aggressive Irish soft shoe dancing I could possibly do, while bundled up in the tightest burrito imaginable.
It took me months to find my mothering groove. Blaine was nearly one by the time I fancied myself a mother and felt myself connecting well with him.
Blaine's second year was the easy part. Colic gone. Good sleeper. Pleasant, quiet, observant boy. I felt myself loving him evermore.
As Blaine entered the world of having a sibling, turning two, and moving to a new state all at once, he changed. He refused to nap (and I tried everything). He grew sassy. His strong will became known. We butted heads (oh, did we!). Like two years earlier, I felt out of control and at odds with my baby. I started to believe that my current problems with my son were born out of my inability to bond with him in his infancy. I began to picture fighting with him as a teenager and wondered if my struggle during the beginning of his life would take its toll for the rest of it.
And then I had the epiphany of my life. I loved Blaine. I had loved him in my belly and I loved him the minute he was born. We had bonded. We had. It wasn't that I couldn't bond with him at first, it was that I couldn't bond with motherhood.
Ever since realizing that, things have been different between Blaine and me. Sure, we still butt heads. Sure, he was defiant and disobedient and ungrateful today. (And I? I was impatient. To say the least.) But now I never see his bad behavior or our inability to see eye-to-eye as anything but typical parenting challenges. I'm not afraid of seeing Blaine through his teen years anymore. I no longer worry that because I was more ready for a baby when Rog came along, that my relationships with my boys are uneven.
It wasn't him. It was me.
So thank you, dear Blaine, for loving me, and being patient with me, and teaching me how to embrace my life. Consider us bonded.