Once a week Baby Bunny and I venture out into the arctic weather to parade around an old school room with other moms and tots. We clap, stomp our feet, jingle some bells, and mainly share the common cold virus. It always surprises me when I look around the room just how different moms can all be. There are some very slender moms in our group, some well dressed, some old, some young, some with one kid and some with multiples, some of them aren’t even moms but caregivers or grandparents. And yet, here we are, making animal noises, singing along to music we wouldn’t readily put on our stereos on a Friday night, and getting excited for an old rubber stamp that we get if we can survive the whole 45 minutes.
We all transition into this room, and parenthood, instantly sacrificing the needs of self for our children. Or so I hope. I am sure there are the few parents in the room that resent some aspect of parenthood or possibly don’t enjoy this season of their life; it can happen. But on the whole I like to think that we are all sitting there, willing to let ourselves look like a fool, for the one second that our child can learn, laugh, or have fun.
I am reminded of a moment last week when we were traveling where I realized how truly magnificent this selfless mentality of a parent is. While sitting poolside, I met a young couple that was just a few months pregnant. I recognized the confidence and presumptions in the future mom’s voice; I had it in my own at one time. She talked about names, room design, crib selection, registries, her plans for sniffles and vaccines, and birth plans- all with the matter of fact tone that it of course can only go one way- her predetermined, researched, preplanned, perfect way.
She ‘knew’ that they would dress the baby in a certain style of clothing and take the baby to certain classes, because the baby will, of course, want to fit into the mold that they are creating. She was speaking as the ‘future mom’ and not the ‘experienced mom’. All I could think of was how I had been so young, so naive, so unaware of what motherhood and parenting involved. I wanted to tell her that her quest to build the perfect registry wouldn’t matter the week after the baby is born, that printing the perfect ultrasound picture won’t change her love for her child or ruin her nursery. I wanted to tell her that everything she listed to me of the most important plans she had for the baby were really all pointing back to herself; to her dream, to her desires. That soon a baby will enter their world that has ambitions and desires all of their own, and her dream will shift to seeking out her child’s dream and doing everything in her power to bring it to reality.
I feel like who I was, before Baby Bunny, was so different. SO different. I honestly don’t even know if I would have recognized myself two years ago.
My heart beats for this little person now. My soul flies on the sound of her laughter and weeps in the drops of her tears. I have a tangible feeling of how deep my love is for her; I know the extent I would give of my own life to save or enhance hers. But those are things that new moms have to learn. Pain, sleep deprivation, sickness, healing, steps, scrapes- all of these things bind us to our children and make us so much more aware of how precious of an individual they are. And just as I wouldn’t have listened to someone telling me that I didn’t understand motherhood when I was already pregnant, I know that new moms have to learn on their own, in their own way, in their own time.
Transition back to tot times dingy gym floors and broken toys, when we are all scrambling around our tot time room like a scene from Lord of the Flies, my fellow warriors and I are all chasing our little ones with a plan in mind. Each of us, while looking so different on the outside are all moving about with one goal in mind: we are trying to get ahead of theses toddling dinosaurs to clear their path so they can go farther. Dream bigger. Smile brighter.