Sunday night was the most scared I’ve ever been. My almost two year old son fell into a pool. He’s completely fine and my husband and I are recovering slowly. We were at my mom’s house and we wanted to take the kids outside after dinner. While my husband and I were attempting to control the dogs, our kids, almost nine and almost two, took off. When they got to the end of the patio my daughter veered left and my son veered right, straight towards the deep end of my mom’s pool.
I shouted “NO!” and closed the distance between us almost immediately, but not quickly enough to stop him from jumping in.
You always hear that time slows down in those type of situations, for me it was more like my brain sped up. What surprised me was how many thoughts I was able to have in just that split second. My first thought was, “jump in”, naturally. And then (this sounds silly and horrible) I thought about whether or not I should take my shoes off. You always see it in movies, people taking their shoes off before diving in to save someone, but then I thought of how long it would take to take my shoes off. After having all those thoughts, I realized I just needed to grab him and pull him out. His hair wasn’t even wet, my brain had just gone on super drive.
And then everything slowed down. We stripped his wet clothes off him, my husband got a big fluffy towel from inside, we wrapped him up and I held him. I put his head on my chest, wrapped him up in my arms, and rocked him. I wished I could put him back inside me, have him be a part of me again. Keep him safe. I wished I had a kangaroo pouch I could carry him and his sister in. Keep them safe.
I spent that night in his room, awake, aware of every breath he took, every shift he made. In the other room, my husband had nightmares.
Traumatic experience aside, it’s been a very nice week. There’s been a lot of fun and a lot of catching up with dear friends I don’t see often enough. There have been coffees, lunches, playdates and drinks. All with other kick ass moms I’m lucky to know and have as friends. Some of these moms are new moms, and some have been doing it awhile. With all of them the conversation turned to motherhood.
When you get together with a new mom there are always questions. Simple, casual enough, questions that only hint at bigger questions and concerns. “When did yours start sleeping?”, “Do you get out a lot?”, but what you really want to know when you’re a new mom, what I wanted to know, was, “Is this normal?” and “Does this get easier?”.
Yes, it’s normal. Normal to be exhausted, normal to miss your independence, normal to wonder in the back of your head if motherhood was a wise decision. Normal for your baby to not sleep, or not poop, or sleep too much, or poop too much.
No, it doesn’t get easier. Because sleepless nights turn into toddlers running towards pools or eight year olds screaming, “Are you happy now?” before stomping into their bedroom.
My wonderful week of mom time was capped off with drinks with my own mom tonight. I mentioned all the other moms I had seen, the conversations I’d had, and how difficult motherhood can be. She said….
“What no one can understand until they become a mother, is that it’s all the time. I thought I would have you, but then I’d go to class, or work, and not be a mom for awhile. But your kids are always with you. And then, I thought once you were eighteen it would be this relationship between two adults, but I’m still a mom. Even when your kids are in their thirties and have kids of their own, that need to provide, to protect, and make sure you’re happy, it never goes away.”
As we said goodbye she hugged me and said, “I love you even though you’re my daughter.”
“Jesus mom,” I scoffed.
“You know what I mean,” she said.
Yeah, I do. I love you even though I had to give up parts of who I was. I love you even though you make me second guess myself and worry constantly. I love you and sometimes wish I could stuff you in a big kangaroo pouch and protect you from the bad things. I love you even though you make me tired and crazy. I love you because even as you grow apart from me, you are still a part of me. The very best part.