Sunday, May 8, 2011

what I got for mother's day

This year for Mother's day, I got the gift of time, and this card. Inside it reads: "Do whatever it takes to get some peace and quiet today. Happy Mother's Day." My husband had added this:
Dear Anne-mor,
You have been a good mamma for almost 3 years running now. Go on, do what the card says; get out of here, and get some peace and quiet!! Take the magazine and go!     Love, Leighton
Dear mamma,
DON'T listen to pappa!! STAY with me, I love you so ... 
I love you for all the neat things that you do for me, helping me to grow and be a strong big girl - and someday hopefully into somebody like you. Here's a book to remind you of all that only you and I can give to each other; to say thanks for all that you've done already.     Love, Lilly
Mother to Daughter, Daughter to Mother: A Daybook and ReaderThe said magazine was the latest issue of In Style for my occasional escape into fashion and gloss; the book a daybook organized by month and theme featuring poems and excerpts short enough for my brief amounts of devoted quiet quality reading time, all written in the voices of mothers and daughters capturing "the special connections and separations between mothers and daughters." Seeing that I have "paper memory," as my friend puts it, and therefore always carry a notebook in my pocket, I appreciate that the book also provides room for my own notes.

My post this past winter about glossy magazines spurred quite a bit of discussion on my Facebook wall. Most of the commenters bemoaned all the advertisements in these sorts of publications, advising me to shun them.

The thing is, I'm not too bothered by the ads; they're all part of the hyperbole gloss just as much as the catwalk shots. And more than once, the featured interview has inspired some thoughts in me, like Cameron Diaz' words on the challenges faced by women who want to pursue both kids and career, and more recently Julianne Moore's comments about pressing social issues and the need for reproductive rights ("If you don't have control of your own body, you have no control of your life." InStyle / March 2011).

True, mostly the magazine contains a lot of glamorous fluff, but on days when I can barely contain my frustration of motherhood, that's the sort of thing I crave.

Like yesterday.

On such a gorgeously sunny afternoon spent outside with Lilly, her playing around while I gardened, I went from composing a post about the delights a year can bring--with her actually staying close to the house when told to do so: on her trike, at her slide, with her chalks, or in her sandbox (I love that I can even get stuff done inside now while checking in on her from time to time; that she will come to the door if she needs something), whereas last year I found myself constantly chasing after her to stay off the street or my flower bed--to fumingly brewing up a post about the exasperating stubbornness of a soon-to-be three-year old who refuses to go inside for a nap though she's so dead tired she'll crash on the concrete driveway with her babydoll as a pillow. By the time dinnertime had approached, I was barely able to form a growl of a smile to my cheerful neighbor's "such a nice day, huh?!" as he started up his grill.

I just barely made it through dinner and dishes without losing it completely.

Then she crashed, after which I tried to recover on the couch with Ben & Jerry's Chubby Hubby AND Phish Food.

On the fridge I've put up this lovely picture from when Lilly was only two or three weeks. On days like yesterday it can sometimes help me see how precious this all is, nevertheless. What's interesting to me is how frustrated I remember being even back then during those first incredible weeks of parenting. In particular my suddenly dawned upon inability to do practically anything. Because she would only be happy in my arms, and I wanted her only to be happy (yes, this did imply that I was somewhat less happy, but I would have been even less happy had she not been happy. I'll say it again: attachment parenting has been worth it for us). -- And not just the inability to write, but to cook, clean, run errands, and so on. So Leighton did all of those things (you might say I was lucky).

I remember sitting in my bed with her in my arms, nursing her. Then when she'd dozed off, I'd try to ever so carefully slide her off my lap and right next to my thigh so I could replace her body with my laptop. Sometimes it worked. Or sitting at the kitchen table with Lilly lying on my Breastfriend (the ultimate nursing pillow; thanks, my friend!), which allowed me to turn the pages of a newspaper while she could nurse on demand and drift in and out of sleep. How eventually she'd be happy playing next to me while I was reading a novel. The walks I could do with her once she enjoyed the stroller.

Funny thing how so much of what I think of as positive memories of my time with Lilly are not about all that she can do (which of course continues to amaze and delight me), but also about my ability to do something too; especially if it's something along the lines of what I crave to do and that helps restore me. And to retain some level of sanity and personal well-being, I need that; to get away and find some peace and quiet.

So from the bottom of my heart, I thank you, Leighton; for giving me the absolutely perfect gift of time for my Mother's day.

My garden's gift to me this afternoon.

1 comment:

  1. Anne, I am with you 100% and I love this post. You got a great M's Day gift from Leighton. I hope you enjoyed it. Happy Mother's Day!


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