Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Kisses and Hugs xoxoxo

Motherhood is a thankless job much of the time. It's the hardest job in the world. With the longest hours and the lowest pay. But it is also the most rewarding labour of love you could ever have.

Michelle couldn't possibly understand the sacrifices I've made for her -- physically, emotionally, financially and in every conceivable way -- turning my life as a carefree single girl on its head. She doesn't realize how much it takes out of me caring for her 24-7 without help, how much it hurts to lift her (all 17+ pounds of her) and carry her several times a day on a wrist that aches so badly sometimes I almost throw up (it's the wrist I had carpal tunnel in while pregnant and it is sure getting a workout now. There isn't much I can do. Keeping pressure off of it isn't an option. I've tried carrying her in my right arm instead and I can't seem to do it. It doesn't feel natural and then I can't do things with my left hand anyway so I'm kind of stuck.) How hard it is to get anything done when she doesn't give me a second's peace. How many things I've had to give up. How stressful it is trying to make ends meet and reorganize my life to do what's best for her. She can't say "Thank you Mama" for all that I do. She still hasn't said "Mama" though she did say "Nana" a few times. I know she's just making sounds at this point. She knows I'm her Mama though. She recognizes several words and that is definitely one. I just can't wait for her to say "Mama" and "I love you."

Even when she's old enough to talk she wouldn't necessarily understand or appreciate all that I've done and will do for her. Perhaps not until she's an adult and even then, until she has kids herself, she probably couldn't fully understand. I know my mother always told me "You won't understand until you're a mother yourself." I never expected to be a Mom but now that I am I see that she was right and I love and appreciate my Mom more than ever. Mothers do so much, give so much of themselves every day, asking for nothing in return. Even before you are born, carrying you and caring for you while pregnant. Then when you're a baby, doing everything for you, giving you all of her time and energy and love and throughout your life, being there for you no matter what. Motherhood is also a job that never ends. No matter how old your child gets, she's still your little girl.

I remember the song "No charge" by Tammy Wynette -- a mother's response to her son when he was asking to be paid for the chores that he did. I get teary hearing it or reading it because I'm a sentimental fool. The first time I heard the song many years ago I got a tear in my eye. I never could have imagined that one day I'd be a mother myself. The song is even more touching to me now.

"For the nine months I carried you growing inside me, no charge.
For the nights I sat up with you, doctored you, prayed for you, no charge.
For the time and the tears that you've cost through the years, no charge.
And when you add it all up the full cost of my love is no charge..."

Sometimes when I'm having a really bad day, on no sleep and Michelle is fussy and everything goes wrong, I wonder how I'll cope. Then when she smiles and laughs my stress melts away and I feel so grateful. Recently she has started doing the sweetest thing ever. Suddenly she'll lean in and put her mouth on my cheek. She doesn't understand about puckering up yet but her intentions are good. Michelle gives me a kiss. Her own open-mouthed awkward baby version of a kiss. I love it. My heart melts and I feel like the luckiest person on earth each time she does it. I kiss her back and say "What a nice girl! I love you, sweet girl!" Sometimes she'll do it on command when I say "Give Mama kisses?" (which is how my sister was able to capture these photos of her kissing me) but other times she just spontaneously kisses me and hugs me, often several times a day. She'll clasp my face gently and put her mouth on my cheek. And it makes everything I go through (even my worst days) worthwhile. Sure she can be a shrieking monster sometimes but then she can be my sweet little angel. And in those moments it does feel like she's saying "Thank you Mama" and "I love you."

Mind you her first kiss was on Grandma's cheek, not Mom's and yes I was understandably hurt! She only sees my Mom now and then and sees me all the time. It's like I was being taken for granted. I got over it. I know that she loves her Grandma and Grandpa and gets excited when we visit them. Now that Michelle is kissing me all the time it makes me so happy. Of course I have always been affectionate with her. I kiss her hundreds of times a day. Everytime I'm holding her (which is often!) I can't resist kissing her. I noticed when I used to take her to the public playtime that no one else seemed to kiss their babies at all. Perhaps I'm strange, just overly affectionate. I can't help it. I'm happy to see that Michelle is affectionate too. She's also very intense (as I am and her father was) which can be good and bad. She gets so excited by the smallest things (even just drinking water from her sippy cup by herself) that she'll scream and squeal at the top of her lungs in delight or clench her fists and shake. She also gets upset beyond belief and has a stage 3 meltdown when she's overtired and cranky, doesn't get her way instantly, etc. My Mom says I'm probably making it worse by spoiling her and catering to her every whim, never letting her cry for more than a second. I can't help it. I would feel too guilty letting her cry. It's also probably the most stressful sound on the planet. When my Mom is on speakerphone and Michelle starts screaming (because she's on the change table for instance, which she HATES), Mom usually ends the call because she can't take the noise.

There was no escape for Mom though when she was in the car with Michelle screaming on the way to the Princess Margaret Dream Home the other day! It's been a tradition with my sister, my Mom and I for the last several years to go and tour the PMHF Lottery Dream Home. The homes are always massive and beautifully decorated. It's fascinating to walk through an over 8,000 square foot home, to see how the other half lives. The experience is a lot different now with the baby though. For one we have to take separate cars because of the child seats. I followed my sister there. A long drive with the baby isn't always a picnic. Sometimes she sleeps and is content but when she has reached her limit, she certainly lets you know. The sound of an infant shrieking is even more stressful in the confines of a vehicle when you're trying to concentrate on the road on a six lane highway. My Mom sat in the backseat with Michelle to entertain her, give her a drink etc while we drove but she could only do so much. Michelle doesn't like being strapped in her carseat for very long and when she's had enough, she screams.

We made it there in one piece anyway and Michelle was good as gold while we were in the house. She seemed fascinated by it all. I put her in the kangaroo carrying pouch my Mom had given me to save my arms. It's murder on my back and shoulders but at least my wrists get a break. Strangers commented on how cute she was and how she "had the best seat in the house!" It feels kind of weird carrying her in front of me like that with my hands free. It's like she's an alien leaping out of my stomach. The house was crowded and I had to make sure people didn't bump into her.

Michelle has really been a handful lately. She's back to barely sleeping at all so it's very hard to get things done and I can't leave her for a second while she's awake because she's pulling up on everything and standing precariously and I'm constantly afraid she's going to fall and bang her head. My Mom says she'll never learn to do it on her own if I'm constantly catching her but I can't let her fall. I'm trying to teach her to fall on her butt so it doesn't hurt. I know that even when she can stand and sit back down and walk by herself the worries won't end -- then new worries will begin. She's already trying to get into EVERYTHING. She grabs at everything in sight. She's so curious she just has to be into everything. I let her explore things if I figure they can't hurt her. She had a great time tearing up some of the flyers and my junk mail (I don't let her touch newsprint and get her hands black but anything that has magazine quality pages is fair game.) She loves to rip and crinkle paper. I have to keep the Kleenex box out of reach or she pulls all the tissues out.

I never expected to be a Mom but now that I am one I know it was meant to be. I couldn't have imagined how much I could love someone, especially someone who can be so difficult and demanding at times. Sure she drives me crazy sometimes but she's worth it. I've given up sleep, money, my figure, most of my hobbies, life as I knew it. What I've gained is something more precious than anything -- a love beyond my wildest dreams. I feel so blessed. I am so grateful. I love her so much sometimes it feels like my heart may burst -- like the Grinch at the end of the animated Dr. Seuss classic "The Grinch that Stole Christmas" when his heart grows to three times its size and breaks the meter and he suddenly has the strength of 10 men and lifts the sleigh over his head. When Michelle hugs and kisses me, I know that she is the sweetest, most precious, most important thing in my life and I will do anything for her.


  1. Look at those kisses! Aren't the sloppy ones just adorable!! Sorry Michelle's not sleeping again...hope she gets back on track soon! And too true, we definitely don't become moms for the accolades, huh!!

    1. Yes I love her sloppy kisses! I hope she'll start sleeping normally again one day soon!