just letters

20-year-olds {and sometimes senior citzens}

dear silly girl,

i go to school with mostly younger girls. since i am much closer to 30 than 20, they seem like aliens sometimes. i blame the brain thing.

as one of our mind-numbing assignments, we have to shadow the senior girls 4 times this semester, and most of the senior girls are 20. {they just knew what they wanted to be before i did} i had to shadow some seniors again this week. most of them have boyfriends, are obsessed with getting married, and have a utopian idea of what motherhood is.

i love to freak them out.

it’s always the same conversation:

so are you married?

yes.

how long have you been married?

6 years.

6 years! how old are you?

28.

i never would have thought that. {bless their southern manners if they don’t mean it. if they do, i contribute this success to staying out of the tanning bed.}

do you have children?

i have a little girl.

just one?

yep.

do you want to have any more?

no, not really. 

{insert shocked, appalled, horrified look here}

why?!

everyone’s experience is different and not everyone enjoys the baby stage. i didn’t sleep for a year and a half, and i cried through most of that. i love the toddler stage. if someone wanted to just give me a toddler, i’d be all in, but no more babies for me.

{insert second shocked, appalled, dismayed, horrified look here}

i love babies!

i love babies, too, but love has nothing to do with it.

now, don’t get the idea that i would trade you for anything in this world. i wouldn’t. i would do it all again; go through all of the baby blues, colic, days and nights mixed up, and physical therapy again, as long as i could have you.

but to do it a second time- it’s just still too fresh in my mind.

it’s not just those things that keep me from making that leap, though. it’s the weight of the world that increases upon you when you have a child. there is nothing more wonderful in this entire world than children. children are the greatest, most precious blessing ever created. however, with such a blessing comes significant, indescribable responsibility.

every news story about a child feels like it’s happening to you. every nightmare that could become real plays in your head and keeps you awake. it’s as if you have been in a state of reverie and then suddenly eaten from the tree of knowledge. all at once, you see the danger in everything. you worry. you mess up and then spend hours thinking about it. you feel like the world and all of it’s influences are against you, and you’re constantly fighting an uphill battle. the tv, radio, church, grocery store, vehicle, and your own self become your enemies. it’s can be overwhelming.

it’s all at once wonderful and terrible at the same time. of course, it’s more wonderful than terrible which is why people choose to have multiple children or to procreate at all.

now, i could be one of those people that make up some fake answer to the questions that the 20-year-olds {or nosy senior citizens} ask me, but i feel like it does mothers of only children or mothers in general a disservice. i could say something like i’m satisfied with my one child. i don’t feel like i need another child. loving this one is enough. and that is absolutely a true statement and a true statement for many people. there’s not a darn thing wrong with that, either.

but if i’m honest, i do think about having another child from time to time. i wonder if you will resent being an only child one day. some days my love for you overflows so much that i think i’d love to have another one just like you. and maybe one day i will. part of me would secretly love to do it all again, knowing what i know now.

but i’m just not sure.

i’m not sure that i could worry about two children falling face first and busting their teeth out of their mouths. i’m not sure that i could worry about two children running from me in a store. or being kidnapped. or having shots. or being potty trained. or going to school. or watching too much tv and being youtube addicted. could i deal with the idea of two children using social media? or playing with matches {that i don’t even keep in the house}. what if we were hit by a car one day? what if something happened to one and i couldn’t leave the other? could i handle two children jumping on the bed, shoving popcorn and puzzle pieces into Kleenex boxes and my shoes? could i handle two marker-artists who think the walls are their canvas? could i handle two fit-throwers, screamers, and dog-harassers? could i resist the urge to wrap a second one in bubble wrap and lock him or her in a sanitized room now that i know what being a mother entails? could i??

do you see how my irrational-fears-roller-coaster gets going? i wish i was one of those calm people that i always assume is medicated.

i know that so many of the things i worry about probably wouldn’t happen, but the thought is still there, creeping around the corner, poking me with a stick.

the best thing would probably be for the 20-year-olds to just mind their business {and senior citizens in waiting rooms while i’m at it.} they don’t realize that they just feed the fire.

on the flip side, i also get a little defiant when people start with me. i think to myself what’s so wrong with just having one child? what is everyone’s deal? every person in America does not have to repopulate the earth!

but no matter what i decide, the decision is mine and what other people think will have absolutely nothing to do with it.

and i know that one day you will be making these exact same decisions. they may be very easy, simple decisions for you or they may be just as difficult or more difficult. i just don’t know.

***

i have been driving around with my friend jennifer’s baby shower gifts for a few weeks. i’m terrible at getting things to people. you asked me about them today.

mama, who are these for?

those are jennifer’s baby shower gifts

why?

well, when a woman is going to have a baby, you buy her presents.

why?

because it’s fun and babies are expensive.

why?

they just are.

my belly says i want a baby.

oh yeah?

it’s says {imagine weird cookie monster voice} i want a baby in here. [lots of giggles from the back seat]

well, one day when you’re a grown up, you may have a baby.

yeah. [big smile]

you have a while before that happens.

mama, i was your baby. 

you still are. [my turn to give the big smile]

yeah! [big smile again]

***

and so it goes. my heart melts. the fit you threw right before we got in the car because i wouldn’t let you watch face-painting videos on youtube just five times is completely forgotten. only the sweetness remains. in those moments, i think anything is possible, and simultaneously, i know you will always be enough.

i love you, little girl.

forever,

mama

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