So soon?

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A few weeks ago I gave birth to a magical little redheaded baby girl. She’s 20 now, but that is the way the heart massages time…the real passage is hard to measure in ordinary terms. To my arms, the weight of her baby self is still a recent memory, there is still an ache in my shoulders from pacing with her while she cried of colic. I still hum the only song that calmed her, and when I am stressed I remember how the sound of the vacuum was the only thing that soothed her mysterious fretting.

I left her in another city the other day, this baby child of mine. I left her in her own apartment surrounded with the trappings of a new life. No diaper pail, no stuffed rabbits or pastel blankies; instead pots & pans, thrift store dishes and school supplies clutter the space.

She is ready. She is ready to take on the world and be a shining beacon of newness, of hope and promise. She has the confidence, the kindness, the grit and the guts to tackle this new chapter. She is, after a few years of holding my breath, everything I knew she would be. I am the kind of proud there are no words for.

But I am now 5,385 kilometers from her forehead… the forehead I like to kiss goodnight. And it turns out I am less ready than she.

Fake it ’til ya Make it

ImageI swear to you I don’t know how to do at least half of what I do. No, I’m not kidding. Seriously I fake most everything (not THAT!!!) I am a tryer. I am a googler.   I, as a mother, am a mother of invention. That translates to all those awesome sayings like Fake it ’til ya make it, grind it ’til ya find it and so on.

I remember being a new Mom; it was my daughter’s 2nd birthday and my first ever cupcake effort. I had no IDEA how much batter to put in the cupcake tin… fill it up? Fill it halfway? I didn’t live anywhere near my family so I did what fakers everywhere do…I called in reinforcements. Actually, I called my friend; a much more experienced mother of 3 kids under 5. She set me straight.

That’s pretty much how I’ve rolled ever since.  Sew cloth diapers? Sure… I can do that. Shaped, formed, with snaps to adjust the sizes and velcro tabs and an absorbent liner? Sure… no problem.  Cater for my husband’s office party? No worries; I got this. Write a press release… BAM. They don’t call it ACTING like an adult for nothing you know!

Now you’ve gotta have balls to barrel through life like this and I guess I’ve grown a pair… yeah, I googled that for instructions.  I’m not saying I don’t do what I do WELL, ’cause I do. I’m good at a lot of things. I didn’t START good at them mind you, and nobody taught me how to do most of them. It turns out a little chutzpah, a bit of confidence and some kick-ass research skills are pretty good in a pinch.

My Gramma was a powerhouse; did it all. I’ve kind of channeled her as I’ve grown into myself. She, like me, had to find her own way, far from her own support network and family. And she was a tough cookie; not fearless, but brave. I am trying (success or lack of will be determined in a few decades) to impart that same adaptability to my kids. It’s what makes you bounce… makes you resilient. 

My favourite quote from Pablo Picasso is “I am always doing that which I cannot do, in order that I may learn how to do it”.  That’s a pretty empowering way of approaching life, I think. It’s been my mantra since my first move away from home. I think I’ll have it tattooed on something. As soon as I learn how to do that…