Friday, October 31, 2008

To Paisley: Nine Months Old (Happy Halloween!)

Yesterday we went to a Halloween party with a bunch of Moms that I didn't know and you were wearing your little Halloween costume. You were the youngest kid there but that didn't stop you. You pulled yourself around the floor, tried to talk to the kids and kept smiling and babbling at everyone. I couldn't stop watching you Paisley. I was so in love with you and your sweet personality and this lobster on the floor who suddenly wasn't a little baby anymore.

This month has probably seen the most changes of any month so far. Your personality is shining through and you have no trouble communicating what, or who, you want. You are dragging yourself around like mad and despite the obvious lack of leg use, you are quick and determined. You have teeth - TWO teeth and you use them on everything. You mostly like to bit my nose. You have so much more hair and it has taken on this beautiful strawberry blond sheen. You say "Mama" (and "Ba ba" so your Dad has been trying to teach you to say "Obama". No such luck.) and every time you do my heart skips a beat. You stand up in your crib. You can pull yourself up on things. You tipped over a plant and ate our camera charger and started eating finger food and love to be pulled around in the laundry basket "train". You put your arms up when you want me and you arch your back and demand to be put down when you are tired. You laugh when I make the bed or wear my glasses and you squeal with delight when you realize you're standing up. You know what you want and while that has made things a wee bit harder, it has also made life vastly more interesting.

On Thanksgiving weekend we went down to Whitefish, Montana for a wedding. You were so good and so cute in your little velvet dress that one of the little boys asked of he could dance with you. He must have been four and came up to our table while dinner was still being served and asked if he could dance with the baby. I told him he could but that he would have to wait for the music to start. He returned to ensure his place on your dance card at least 3 times again before the dancing had even begun. When it did he came to escort you (and me by extension since you can't walk) and you had your very first dance with a boy named Sam Trussle in Montana.

(Wow. What a horrible picture of me. My legs look like tree trunks. Smooth tree trunks with big knees.)

I have been training for a 10k race for the past few months and last weekend I ran the Halloween Howl for the Alberta Diabetes Foundation. It was a beautiful, sunny fall morning and as I ran along the river I thought of you and of the many times I had taken you out in the jogging stroller. I always think of you when I am running. I want you to be proud of me and to see me doing things that inspire you and motivate you. I want physical activity and nature to be a part of your life. I often imagine myself going for runs with you alongside on your bike, pigtails blowing in the breeze. I imagine running a marathon with you and your Dad waiting for me at the finish line. This might explain why I also tend to cry when I run.

Far too many people have kids by default without ever really stopping to think about what it will be like or what sacrifices they will have to make. I have always thought it is good to not have kids if you don't want them and never felt like those people would be missing out on anything. Now, while I still support the idea of choosing to be childless I secretly feel sorry for them. Having you has changed the way I look at myself and at my own childhood. Until I had you I never, ever realized how much I was loved. I think back now about different times in my life and they suddenly make sense. I now understand the panic when we would stray too far far from home or the time my brother was nearly hit by a car, how my mother screamed and was still upset long after the car was gone. I now know why my Mom was so upset when I got a tattoo and "ruined my perfect back". Because for many years, my back was hers. She rubbed it to lull me to sleep and made sure it was clean, and dry. Some part of her felt a sense of ownership I'm sure. I remember as a child how deeply I loved my parents and I remember thinking that there was no way they could love me as much as I loved them. I was so, so wrong. Having you has not only made my present richer and given me focus for our future, it has also made my history that much sweeter.


1 comment:

Alli said...

"Now, while I still support the idea of choosing to be childless I secretly feel sorry for them."

Don't feel sorry for those of us who have, at least thus far, chosen to abstain from parenthood. I know so many friends who didn't plan their pregnancies, and many of the results have been rather sad. If anything, it clarifies my own feelings about being ready to take on the responsibility of parenthood. A child should never be treated as a burden, but I witness it often with friends and their babies, and I experienced it first-hand growing up. Not everyone relishes motherhood, and children are the ones who suffer.

It is because I don't want to put a child through the misery I experienced that I am so hesitant to reproduce. It would be irresponsible of me to have a baby when I lack the skills needed to be a good parent. It's the most important job a woman has, in my opinion. But don't feel any pity for me or others like me. It's an educated and informed decision. If anything, it will make me a better mother in the future, should I change my mind:)

One more thing. I can't tell you how many times Aaron and I have looked at each other over the past few months since the economy tanked, and said, ' thank god we don't have kids.' I can't imagine the stress that folks are facing as they watch college funds disintegrate and investments dwindle. I feel almost lucky that I don't have that concern. Things are going to be tough for a while in the US, and though there may never be a 'perfect' time to have a baby, I believe that there could be a better time in the future.