I had a poetic post all mapped out. One where I waxed lyrical on how a girl born under the sign of Gemini would never be just one thing. How the daughter of migrants could never be just one thing. How that same daughter who was also a mother, a sister, a wife might never be just one thing.
This post was all about life and work and the multiple identities we inhabit in the modern world.
But it turns out, another post wanted to be written: a post that kinda feels like it's about the total opposite.
We're coming through a horrid couple of weeks here at chez nous. Our bambino cut his first teeth and was not his usual sweet, smiling self. He refused all solids; had short, unpredictable and unsatisfying naps; woke at all hours (including a couple of nights when he woke On. The. Hour); and was generally impossible to please.
And I wandered around, sleep-deprived and fragile, quick tempered and full of self-doubt. The simplest decisions eluded me. A couple of mean-spirited comments that I'd usually deflect or ignore flattened me completely. It felt significant that lying in my dentist's chair while he scraped my teeth felt like the most relaxing point of my day.
I worries that my baby was regressing in terms of basic milestones and that I was not managing the situation appropriately. I cursed myself because he was breastfeeding so often, not as established on solids as other babies at he same age, still unable to sit up by himself. I also wondered if I'd created a rod for my own back by maintaining the feeding and settling regimen that had worked so well for my daughter. What if my bambino never settled himself to sleep again?
The day after the lunar eclipse, one of my dearest friends responded to an SMS in which I bellyached about my evident crapulence as a parent:
I am more convinced than ever before than little people pop out as the humans they are and that really wonderful parenting doesn't necessarily do much more than making them feel loved. You haven't done anything crap and neither have I but babies sleeping through the night isn't about that.
As I read this, I felt something gargantuan shift inside me. I also became aware of a certainty -- that I understood to be much more than wishful thinking -- that my bambino and I were over the worst... for now, anyway.
My dear friend's words helped me see the truth, that my job was really to ensure that my bambino (like my daughter) knew without question that he was loved. The rest we could figure out together, in our own way, in our own time.
From that point onwards, bambino and I meandered our way back to our old routine. He started sleeping for longer and longer stretches, often without need for settling. Today, he ate some puréed food for the first time in a week. We can all see his sweet, smiling self re-emerge. He's also started to show greater confidence and ability in sitting up on his own.
And I am feeling more rested and reassured. But also, thanks to my friend's wisdom, I have more clarity than ever before about the just one thing that I want my children to be. It's the just one thing that I think we all ever want to be. And it's the just one thing that enables us to be the multitude of other things that we are.
And that is beloved.
This post is my response to Day Nine of the August Moon reflective writing challenge. You are most welcome to share your own response to the prompt in the comments below.
Otherwise, the next opportunity to connect is Reverb in December. Join us?