(This post is brought to you by the intense feelings that washed over me pertaining to my tiny daughter growing up and moving away and my life being sucked through a time vortex until there's nearly nothing left of it, courtesy of the crisis that Patricia Arquette's character goes through at the very end of Boyhood. Thanks, Richard Linklater, for making this beautiful piece of artwork that reminded me just how closely our lives resemble a thin and fragile glass ball.)
Margot has been so incredibly difficult lately. She woke up a few days ago with a head cold, and she's simultaneously got three molars making their way through the surface of her gums; and both of these things are contributing to this absolutely insufferable behavior that often leaves me fantasizing about how fantastic it'd be to drive myself off a cliff. I'm being facetious, of course, but my fuse has been so incredibly short - and my patience virtually non-existent - to such a point that, in the throes of things, I'm not sure which of us I need to feel more sorry for. Throwing a pity party comes naturally, but of course my rational mind knows exactly how important it is to offer grace and love to others; particularly to our tiny offspring who're experiencing blocked sinuses, growing pains, and wild emotions that they haven't learned quite how to reign in. I mean, for goodness' sake: teething. That's gotta hurt so badly.
But so for the last few days, I'm stuck perpetually hanging on to the very tail end of my frayed rope. And when mama's upset, nobody's happy. So our household becomes quickly overrun with toddler whining (like, olympic-level whining. Seriously.) and crying, and these exasperated sighs that I'm heaving off my shoulders in my best efforts to not raise my voice at this sad, suffering little girl.
And that patience - wow. Is it ever superhuman. To conjure up such a level of forgiveness in the face of this mind-numbingly frustrating behavior is such that at the end of every day, I feel I so very rightly deserve a crown and a cape.
I know that at the very root of it, we're all just so very vulnerable, and so very susceptible to this wild and overwhelming tide that can swallow us up if we let it. What I'm trying to settle down with, though, is that there are things to be afraid of, but there are also great things to rejoice over. It's hard, over so many small or mighty moments, not to let my frustration take over; or my sheer exasperation; or my fear of the unknown - but to do so would be to accept a defeat that I'm so wholly uninterested in. At any and every point along the way, I choose to be here, now, present and grateful.
My fear of the unknown, as it goes, is grounded in the realization that Margot is growing, changing, developing and becoming her own independent person at an absolutely dizzying rate. And to say that it's presently making me uncomfortable is a gross understatement.
Although, to think that my life is going to fly by me without me noticing is absurd, of course, particularly as I try so hard to intentionally be in my very real present, living out my days with purpose, gathering up all the drive and motivation I can collect along my way... but I still can't escape that knowledge that time does creep up, creep past and fly behind us at light speed - and I know this to be particularly true now that I'm a parent; now that I have all these photos of tiny, newborn Margot, that I look at and stand bewildered as to when she stopped being quite that tiny, quite that new, or quite so cuddly and soft.
She's mine now, she's here under my wing, under my roof and under my care, but she won't always be. My job as her mother is to raise her up to be a strong and sure person of her own - to make her own path, to carve her own way - and to become exactly who it is that she wants to be. But how do I reconcile that knowledge with this intense and completely all-encompassing desire I have to keep her here with me? To keep her small, to keep her sweet, to keep her at my breast, or in my arms, or right by my side? Do I suppose it will take her becoming a mother herself before she can ever really quite understand how inherently I need her, desire her, love her, want her? How very intrinsically a PART OF ME she is? How can I ever let go of her? How does a mother ever get to a point where letting her sweet young feels good, right, or okay?
This will all pass, I know. My dust particles will settle, my swiftly beating heart will calm, and my breathing will stay ever-steady and sure. It's just so hard being stuck between now-motherhood and forever-motherhood. One is so hard while the other is so gut-wrenchingly beautiful. But they are, of course, exactly one and the same.
It's no wonder that parenthood so swiftly drops us to our knees. What a powerful and beautiful thing it is.