We are in This Together

For the last two years, I have been adjusting my thinking. Since I have had Jahan, change has happened to me as though it is a seasonal cold. It has taken hold of me so many times, debilitated me, and challenged me. In order to conquer the change that has come about in my life, I have had to come up with a defense mechanism. I let it roll over me now, submit to it completely, allow it to lead me wherever its willful heart desires. Then, after embracing, absorbing, and emulating all that comes along with said change, I tell myself, "This is my life now. And it's perfect because I have chosen to live this way today. This is what my life will be from this point forward until another bout of change comes along." 

Motherhood is challenging. There is no denying that. It is also the most wholesome, selfless, and satisfying thing I have done in my life. And it is scary. It never stops being scary. I can envision the most troubling and absolutely catastrophic scenarios before drifting off at night and startle myself awake, hugging my daughter close to me, making her a promise, "I am right here." Every morning, when I leave before sunrise, I check the gas stove three times because my precious ones are still asleep in the house and if I don't do this, I will keep wondering for an hour on the road about any number of accidents that could take place in my absence. I get to work and text my husband, "Please FaceTime when the baby wakes up. I miss her." In my head I add, "Already." Motherhood is the biggest contradiction I have ever lived though - it is simultaneously the most strengthening and weakening experience. It is unfair to the mother to love someone to a degree of madness and have no control over the feeling in order to simulate it another way. By the same token, being a mother has trained me to be exceptionally accountable for my thoughts because they have had a singular focus without competition for the last two years.

Jahan is two years old, and I am beginning to celebrate small acts that are readying her for her graduation into the conversational world of adults. Saying gibberish. Counting from 1 to 5. Attempting to say the alphabet. She is a little girl now - no longer a baby. I am learning too fast that I should enjoy the rare days she lets me baby her, carry her in my arms, swing her, lead her down the street, because pretty soon she will be doing all the leading. And this, I think, is the hardest part of motherhood. Letting go while having an appreciation for the past, present, and the future. Letting her become her own person, while being exceptionally proud of her and desperately sad for the sweet, undemanding baby she will never be again.

A baby is going to keep changing and keep demanding that you change with her. Keep up with her pace. Keep up with the degree of change she is experiencing. I have told myself now that for the next several years, Jahan and I are together at the reigns of this parenting thing. It will always be the best compromise. She will want things a certain way (extra play time), I will most likely want something different (strict routines). We will probably meet halfway (extra 30 minutes some nights). On other occasions, like when I take her somewhere so she can enjoy herself, I will have to let her decide the itinerary. She may not want to go into a particular part of the mall that I really want to check out (because of the sale). She may want to stay instead near the flower beds or the fountain. And since this is her day out with her parents, I must let her decide what she wants to do and be OK with it. Mothers and children are constantly testing the boundaries of parenting in different ways. I have told myself today, "I have an independent little girl. If she wants to lead the way and there is no harm in it, I let her lead the way. This is my life now. And it is perfect because I have chosen to live this way today." And I get a gorgeous smile as my prize.