Monday, March 7, 2011

Et les Yeux

Ah, Monday you bitch. This was a great weekend, everyone was feeling good and we got out for dinner with friends and brunch with friends and some fresh air that was over 30 degrees- over 50 degrees even! It was a huge improvement over the last one to be sure.
As I've droned on and on about of late, in so many ways life with our infant son is just flying by. I keep wanting to stop and record everything, to make sure I'm cherishing every second. I get like this from time to time, and it's especially easy to do being that I'm an older first-time parent, I cop to obsessing just a teeny bit.  However, it seemed more than serendipitous when I came across something I wrote last year when I was super pregnant. 

From April, 2010: 
When we were in Maine a few weeks ago we watched a few old home videos. My brother was born in the mid-1980s, coinciding with the purchase of my family's first (gigantic) video camera, so most of his childhood is committed to film. I am not exaggerating when I say that he was the most beautiful child ever born. He came out special and adorable, and everything he did and said could just melt your heart. You can see me on these same videos entering my gangly teenage years, and though my interactions with him are clearly loving, they are just my every day reactions. It was my every day life and I took this little gem of a boy for granted. So watching those videos now makes me feel inexplicably sad. All I could think about was, did we treasure him enough? Did we even know what we had when he was right there? Is that how people get lost, when they are magic and nobody notices? He's still magic. He always will be, but who knows how much has to do with us? It's just that there's visual, talking proof of his life, how he was so clearly vulnerable, and his care was entirely in our hands. I panic, thinking, did we do a good enough job with what we had? 

I know my extreme emotional reaction is ridiculous. First of all, I was a kid myself, and my parents were the ones ultimately responsible for him and they are and always were awesome. And empirical data shows that Nick grew up into a pretty rad adult, and we've never to this day stopped being close. If I were to ask him to rate his childhood, I know I'd get a thumbs up all around. But I can't help it. I'm guessing it has everything to do with me being on the verge of giving birth, projecting my own fears about parenthood, but man oh man I still feel choked up every time I think of him in his footie pajamas opening xmas presents. When it's my baby's turn, will I be enough? 

I already know the answer to that. I will, and I won't. I'll do my best not to get so bogged down in routine that I forget to cherish my little sprout in some way every day. But it's going to happen. And it's healthy, I mean, I'm not about to raise a spoiled prince or princess who thinks the world orbits her precious behind. It's a fine line. But I guess I'm as equipped as anyone to walk it. If I'm mindful more than half the time, I think that can be considered successful. Maybe? Plus I don't even have a video camera, and maybe that's for the best. 

Reading that helps me in times like these when I feel like a lazy, ineffectual loser because I lack the moral fiber to do what it takes to get HR to sleep through the night. Hey, I'm just appreciating his baby-dom, people! But at the heart of it, it helps me think that we're on the right track, we're doing OK. Sometimes we take him for granted. Sometimes we want his adorable face to be quiet and go to sleep already. And sometimes I could weep over his fine little curls because I know I'll blink and they'll be a dry lock taped into his baby book. It's just reassuring to think that I'm living up to the parental goals that I set for myself, however small they might have been. Love the bejesus out of this kid? Check (how can anyone not?) Make sure he knows he's loved? Check (I'm assuming his dementedly cheery demeanor has something to do with us). Yes yes, he may indeed believe that his sweet chubby butt is the center of the universe, but there will be time to gently correct that notion. I'm comfortable with him knowing that he's the center of ours right now. Also: I do possess a video camera, a tiny, pocket-sized one that was out of science fiction back in the VHS days. It's actually my parents' new one, but they bought it for the baby so it lives at my house for now. So there will be lots of time in the future to look back and wonder where we went wrong, but I can't help but think that at best, if we keep doing what we're doing, we'll have a lovely record of what life was like with our own special snowflake when he was small to supplement our misty watercolor memories.

A memory that goes back to my early childhood is my grandmother leading this song around the campfire every summer... all the way up through last summer. I say a lot of things are aMAYzing, but that tidbit truly wears the adjective (as does the woman).

Happy 89th birthday, Memere!

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