So today, there was this amazing event at my independent bookstore of choice where everybody was able to stroll around in the basement and get all the books 50% off. Say whaaaat? I was there as soon as I was able to peel myself off the couch in the morning [
Saturday morning cartoon binge-watching] and after having a light lunch [pho-me-now]. <3
Petit Joel was with me and I quickly realized that exploring a bookstore basement piled with books is awesome for me, but not so much for him. He was okay for an hour or so and was also the only child there.
I spoke to a friend about what [happiness] is and how things changed for me since Petit Joel is in my life. Happiness used to be wine glasses filled with a good red, restaurant visits and talk with friends at bars until 2 am. This all so familiar sound of high heels clicking on pavement when we walked to a book reading at night while adopting the New York fast-walk. Things changed and down the line a different lifestyle started molding as soon as he was born. From brunch on Sunday morning at Les Halles and reading the Book Review section in the New York Times after I got a manicure done to sleeping in because he had a stomachach all night long.
Walking through Central Park while taking pictures and clicking the shutter of my camera got replaced by Petit Joel kicking and swimming crazily around inside my belly while I was pregnant. Now writing and reading in the afternoon has been replaced by Paw Patrol while yelping for help. [Happiness] is now enjoying seeing him gulping down some fries with Ketchup while I burn my lips and tongue four times chopsticking the noodles in my pho.
When I became a mother I never thought I know it all. I got almost depressed piling all those tiny shirts and sweaters in his dresser while people asked me if this is hard. There was/is the sleep deprivation that just never stops and I feel it a lot these days. Has my life completely transformed? The first couple of weeks when Petit Joel was in my life I felt this intense change that I almost could not stand; those days were exhausting and burdensome but in a way they were not. His smile in the morning made it all worth it. And I have to add that everything is possible – even with a child. Life does not stand still. Coffee, lunch or brunch? I just bring him along. Museums? He is fine. Road trips and flying with him? No problem. You just have to walk into any new situation with open arms and no excitations of any kind and you will be fine. Sometimes, when it gets tough, I love when someone tells me, “It is okay. You got this. Don’t worry!” [My mom is pretty good at this]
So today, when Petit Joel started using piled books on the floor as stairs and was happy to climb up to conquer Mount Everest, I knew it is time to leave the bookstore. I got another hint that it is time to go when he started to take books out of the shelves to read them and throw them on the floor after. I felt my heart stopped for half a second while the bookstore staff gave me “the look”. These are times when I think, “I cannot do this and this all sucks. I just wanted to enjoy the bookstore and my beloved books!” Or when he gives himself haircuts (how did he even find the scissors) and is all proud. It all makes complete sense. This is Petit Joel. He discovers. He learns. He explores. This is something I unconsciously knew from the get-go – from the time he was this little tiny thing trying to roll himself off the bench in my parents kitchen. I hear myself using the same words my parents used with me: “How many times do I have to tell you?” or “You do as I say!” or “That’s enough now!” and my patience shrinks more and more. I am not proud of yelling at him, ever. Is it necessary?
I continue to grow and life is complicated. Who said it would be easy? Are we just wringing it day by day, year by year ? The key is not to do all this mothering alone and to connect with other women/mothers who are crazy enough to talk to me and exchange their experiences. To simply find your tribe. To find the mothers who stand beside me when the goings get’s tough and who are not afraid to talk about it either. Also, friends who agree that there are just not enough hours in the day, not enough hands, not enough patience sometimes but that it is all okay. These women who seem to be perfectly happy with everything while balancing it all and tell you about their perfect life and their perfect children and perfect days spent at the park while they listen to everything their kids say and are all so content simply don’t exist. Baby Yoga? I need a massage. This is how “It takes a village” looks like? Let the dust settle a bit while this illusion shatters. This village means that we realize that we [the mothers] are in this boat together. We honor each other, even though we feel like we are failing. There should be some empathy and understanding to one another. There should not be judgement but rather honesty. I am doing my best here. “My village” is salient to keep me grounded and make me realize that I am enough and that it is all okay. Let him climb up Mount Everest.