something to be said for first love. The
immediate ache in your heart. When you
know you will never feel this way again.
With first love you know that no matter what happens in your life, this moment, this
person, this instant was it for you.
First love, I thought I knew you.
I had no idea.
I fell in love
for the first time the day Caitlin was born.
She isn’t an only child, but it’s that crazy kind of first love. The
kind that makes you stay up all night just to make sure she is still breathing. Love that makes you do and say the most
ridiculous things. Things like of course
I’m breastfeeding (I wasn’t); no the night waking doesn’t bother me (smiling
and delusional through exhaustion); and my favorite, of course she sleeps
through the night (with me in the same bed of course). The kind of love that makes you go to three
different stores in a panic to find the last Buzz Lightyear in stock. The Buzz Lightyear that is going to make or
break this birthday, which is tomorrow, and you still have 2 dozen cupcakes to
bake. That crazy first love that makes
you forget you had a life before. The
kind of love that changes you without your permission.
Four years ago I
became Mom, Mommy, or WAHHHH, I answer to all three. I was caught between scared out of my mind
and utterly happy. Labor hadn’t killed
me, so the rest had to be smooth sailing.
I was ready to tackle this thing called motherhood. That natural instinct that is in every woman
who becomes a mom. I had read the books. I took the childbirth class, and even
properly diapered a doll. I had bought
the most expensive breast pump on the market, just in case. I was ready for that little bloody bundle of
joy to be dropped onto my chest… and there she was. My first love, screaming at the top of her
lungs and mad at the world. It was just
Caitlin and I
did not enjoy blissful days of early motherhood. I wanted everything to be perfect. I tried in vain to breastfeed, over and over
again, until I tearfully gave her a bottle.
I started pumping because that’s what “good and loving”
mothers do, and hated it and resented it every time. The less Caitlin slept, the less I slept,
until it was just one continuous day after another. I think I held her in my arms for 36 hours
straight, because every attempt to lay her down was met with blood curdling
screams. I was a crazy lady in stained
sweats and dirty hair. All because I
just wanted to be good. I just wanted
her to love me back. I just wanted her
to know that I was in this for the long haul, better or worse, tired or
For months I
struggled to make sense of my failing attempt at motherhood. I loved her, I was giving my 110%, and still
I felt like I was just subpar. I drove
myself crazy with trying to be the ‘best’ instead of just focusing on doing my
best. Through it all, Caitlin could have
given a flying fig newton! She wanted to
be in my arms. She just wanted me to
give her a bottle. She wanted to see my
face as she screamed at 2 am. She just
wanted me, very much in the same way, I just wanted her. For better or worse
How odd that I
didn’t recognize unconditional love. I
know unconditional love. You don’t grow
up an only child and feel unloved.
However they were my parents.
They had the same infatuation and instant love that I now had for
Caitlin. My husband loves me, and I
believe unconditionally. My husband
however had a choice. He chose me. Caitlin had no choice. She didn’t get to pick whose uterus seemed
inhabitable. If so she could have picked
J-Lo or Ann Coulter. So by the luck of
the draw, she picked me, and somehow she loved me regardless.
The hardest year
of my life also turned out to be the best year of my life. It was the journey and the lesson. Caitlin was a lesson in love. Her love validated me as a mother. I had spent a year hating everything I did, focusing
on every failure, but Caitlin’s love was constant. Caitlin still loved me even though I could
not breastfeed. She loved me when I
couldn’t take the cry it out sleep method.
She loved me even when I no longer believed in or loved myself. It didn’t matter to her whether I was wearing
make-up or had taken a shower. I was her
mother, and as long as I held her and fed her, and smiled at her, she loved me. I had read an article once that said
consistency was the key to great parenting.
For Caitlin and I our only constant that first year was love.
changed me. It made me realize that no
matter my faults, I’m still deserving of love.
I still deserved to be happy and enjoy motherhood. Caitlin became my reason to smile, to try
harder, to love better. No longer the
self centered only child, I was now her mother.
I’m sure I will always be her selfless to a fault, over reactive, still
sometimes negative mother. She started
to sleep longer and more peacefully. I
put the breast pump in the back of the closet.
I’ve decided that being perfect isn’t as important as being happy. So what? I’m not perfect, she doesn’t expect me to
be. Her love is, as it was from the
beginning, constant and unwavering. It’s
through her love that I rediscovered myself, and the mother I’m supposed to
be. A mother that can relax if we are
eating cereal for dinner. A mom that can
ignore the Oreo cookie stains. A mommy
who giggles when she’s covered in popsicles kisses.
lessons in love continue. Now it’s a
juggle of the “Mommy would you play with me”, and the dishes piled in
the sink. It’s convincing a four year
old that no matter how quickly Mommy loses her temper, it’s really not her
fault. It’s the tears in my eyes when
she tells me “Mommy I’m sorry you yelled at me, I love you”. Yes, she does apologize to me when I lose it
from time to time. It’s just another
lesson in love, and I’m humbled to be her student.
Are you a Mama with a story to tell?
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Manda JaneFebruary 27, 2012
truly beautiful post. I love this series so much. I love that Moms are willing to admit that they aren't perfect and that motherhood IS hard. and that, in my opinion, makes them even more amazing!
AbsoluteMommyFebruary 27, 2012
Thanks you for having me today! I really love this series and am honored to be a part of it!
DiamondsandTulleFebruary 27, 2012
What a beautiful post! And this post makes my baby itch grow more and more! Mom and babes are just too precious and the pic of the two of them looking at each other just about captures the feeling of the whole post!
Ashley MarieFebruary 27, 2012
I LOVE this post!
MonicaFebruary 27, 2012
I am a new GFC follower. I found you on a grow your blog hop. I would love for you to stop by my site and return the favor and follow me back as well. If you are interested also check out our current giveaways. We have something for everyone right now.
Thanks a lot!