Friday, February 4, 2011
JoJo, I love you
A few generations of motherhood ago, there were no disposable diapers or five dollar Little Caesar's pizzas. There were no gummy vitamins or baby wipes delivered to your door with one-click Amazon ordering. I am quick to see the blessings. But it seems, from what I can tell, that there was also a smaller helping of the biggest curse of motherhood these days: guilt.
I sometimes feel consumed by it.
One of the biggest sources of guilt I have is not adequately capturing my daughters' childhoods for them. Despite a blog, a journal apiece, a baby book for each, countless hours of video, and conservatively a few thousand photographs, I still feel like the snippets of their precious lives are slipping away, as the Cure lamented during my college days, "like falling sand. As fast as I pick it up, it runs away through my clutching hands."
[side note: Who reading this remembers the suh-weet subway poster of Robert Smith I had lurking over my bed?]
So rather than letting day after day pass because I can't compose a cohesive blog post, here are some random snippets of memories about the child I am currently (and it rotates daily) feeling the most guilt about: Molly.
Except for the guilt I feel about not capturing a really good newborn stretch of Susannah's on film. But mostly I blame Dean for that.
Here are some funny things she has said recently:
"When I grow up, I want to be a man, and a spider."
"Aunt Molly, can you go in the basement with me? It's dark and I need to get a gun to shoot Frankie."
"I wore that dress in a wedding, Mommy. Back when I was a little boy. Last morning." [side note: She has never been in a wedding and everything past tense is "last morning." She has also, despite a persistent recollection of it, never been a little boy.]
"I WON'T wear this, Mommy. This [sweater, shirt, pair of pants] is Daddy's." [side note: Daddy may be of average height, but one would think she wouldn't mistake a pair of her pants for a pair of Daddy's]
A few recent conversations:
Me: "Molly, you are getting so big."
Molly: "I know, Mommy. I getting bigger and bigger and BIGGER."
Me: "Could you stop growing please?"
Molly: "I can't Mommy. I getting BIGGER."
Me: "Will you stop?"
Molly (resignedly): "Oh-tay. But I have to grow sometimes."
Me: "Molly, what's your favorite food?"
Me (at bedtime, rubbing her face): "I love you, Molly. I love how sweet you are when people get hurt. I love your beautiful smile."
Molly (sleepily, whispering): "And I have my own lunchbox."
Molly is also stubborn as a mule. She is a recalcitrant picker-upper of her toys, insists on wiping herself (badly), and will insist she has brushed her teeth when the incriminating odor of Ranch Wheat Thins is on her breath. But, she is also, I realized, an encourager. "Good job, Frankie!," "I love your socks, Daddy," "You can do it, Mommy. I knowed you could do it, Mommy." She is quick to praise and compliment and also quick to forgive. This morning, Frankie drew on the page Molly was coloring. This is an infraction that, were the roles reversed, would result in much wailing and gnashing of teeth and accusations of being a bad sister. But Molly's response, without any prompting, since I was in the other room, is "It otay, Frankie. But next time, try to be more careful." Is that a forgiving spirit, or what?
I love this kid.