Wednesday, March 3, 2010

I'm a Teen Mother, But Not In THAT Way.

Yesterday I officially became the mother of a teenager. 

I did not cry, but I did get a little teary when posting my Facebook status about how when she was born, she changed me.  She did.  That chubby little bugger who kicked the crap out of my uterus and sent stomach acid flying up my esophagus every night and gave me bulging veins in places veins aren't supposed to bulge and came so fast I couldn't get the epidural I had been counting upon popped out and changed everything.

Mothers speak reverentially about the moment their first babies are born.  They say things like "I loved her the moment I saw her" or "she was so beautiful" or "she looked like an angel".  I've never been one of those moms.  I didn't particularly like babies growing up, and I wasn't a very good babysitter.  Let's be honest, I blog about my life, which tells you I can be more than a little narcissistic.  I even joked to the mom of a boyfriend in high school that I liked to poke babies in the soft spot on their head.  (Fairly certain she went home and urged her son to dump me like a bag of kittens.) 

When I saw my daughter for the first time, I turned to CH and said, "A girl, huh?  Was really hoping for a boy, I don't think I can handle girls.  She looks like Grandpa Ryan.  Does she have all digits?  Is there a strawberry birth mark?  Okay, then get me a Diet Coke and a Tylenol, stat."  Mmmm.  Mother love.  Nothing like it.

After entertaining people in my hospital room for the next five hours, I settled into my bed for some well-deserved sleep.  A few moments later, a nurse came into my room with a screaming baby and turned on the lights.

RN:  (sing-songy voice) "Your baby is hungry!"
ME:  (sing-songy voice) "Then feed her!"
RN:  "We have on the chart that you want to nurse."
ME:  "Does that have to start now?  Because I spent my day in labor, I could use some sleep."
RN:  "Well, it does start now.  Because the baby is here and she's hungry."
We stared at each other for a moment while the baby's screams got louder and more urgent.  I considered nuking the nursing idea.  It seemed like a bad time to change my mind - I might look selfish.  Clearly I just wanted to sleep.  Isn't this why God let us invent formula?   The nurse was a very good starer.  Damn it.
ME:  "For Christ's sake...really?  I guess.  How do we do this?"

The nurse got me all situated with the nursing, and then went out to the nurses' station to tell everyone what a horrible bitch of a mother was in Room 435.  I was tired, grumpy, and sore in places I'd never seen.  I was feeling resentful about the whole thing, and I looked down at Grandpa Ryan, the girl I wasn't supposed to have, and there she was.  Nursing.  And it all fell away...the exhaustion, the crankiness, the wait, that stayed...and I just watched her in wonder.  I mean, really.  With some cooperation from CH and God, I had just built a human baby and given birth to her, and here she was, like some crazy science experiment with half of CH's DNA and half of mine.  Here was the person who had been kicking and moving around INSIDE of me for the past 40 weeks, in my arms, and no longer tethered to me in a physical way.  And she was MINE.  Wow.
Oh, the photographs of this child.  I think she's 10 or 12 weeks here.

Somehow, we got through the next thirteen years, and she's still here in one piece.  Against all bets made by the family (I know about the betting, people), she's this amazing, beautiful, smart, funny funny funny, coordinated girl.  She plays the cello.  She does ballet and does a mean hip-hop routine.  She watches Project Runway and SNL with me, and we listen to Ok Go and Blue October and Regina Spektor and the Beatles together, and we both love Twilight.  She's not perfect.  She can get full of attitude and throw down a little temper, and she bickers with her sibilings.  She's disorganized like me, and she's a little grumpy like her Dad (yes, CH, that's you) and she can perfectly imitate Catwoman and the mice in Cinderella (poor Cinderelly!) and the Bill Hader-sportscasting alien character on SNL.  And she's MINE.

Tonight CH and I sat at the dining room table at our dueling laptops, and she came out in her flannel pj bottoms and tank top, looking so much more like 16 than 13, and told us goodnight.  I looked at CH when she left and said, "We only get her for five more years".  Five years!  How can I possibly tell her everything she needs to know to make it in the world in five years?  To not fall in love with being in love and make sure she holds out for the 'good one'?  To figure out what she really loves to do and chase that dream?  That people can be mean, but they're only words, and can't affect her if she doesn't let them?  To tell her she is amazing, and have her believe it - really believe it - without letting it go to her head?  That the Golden Rule really matters?  To wash her face every night and use lots of lotion and sunscreen?  That using the F-word is okay, but make it count.  So much to do, so little time.

I'm so glad she was a girl.  I'm so glad that nurse won the staring contest.  I'm so glad I didn't poke her in the soft spot as a baby. Yesterday I officially became the mother of a teenager.  I'm so glad she's MINE.

Can I just tell you that this post was supposed to be about how I shopped for two months for the perfect teen birthday gifts, and then CH swooped in with the best gift that took him 10 minutes and one phone call, and I was a little bitter and am withholding sex from him, and suddenly here's this emotionally wrought post about motherhood.  Would anyone like a Estrogen chaser with their tumbler of Motherhood on the Rocks?  You opened the blog, I can't be held responsible for filling you with nostalgic despair.


Anissa said...

Oh Julie...deep down you're just a big ole softy like the rest of us. ;)

Beautifully written, my dear. Truly. I hope she knows how lucky she is to have you for her mother. Here's to five fabulous years.

Tzdrake said...

Very sweet. I have eight years left, so I better get on it with MINE. I'm so relieved to know the F word is okay as long as I make it count!

SueWags said...

I had a feeling there was going to be a post like this when I logged on and heard John Mayer. You're a great Mama, Julie! Makes me want to start thinking in "only 7 more years" with a :( rather than "I'm more than halfway! WOOHOO!"

The Insatiable Host said...

ok, so i read this last night and was on my BB but couldn't comment...thank Gawd because I was emotional and had tears in my eyes. on the suuurisous side you really just astounded me with this post...

but let's get real...i can't be serious for long....either way, you rock n roll sister!


Wendy Ramer said...

No regrets about reading a sappy post from you. Variety is the spice of life!

Melibojangles said...

I have no idea who you are. I happened on your blog because you mentioned Blue October and I obsessively read everything Blue October. I am now sitting her with tears running down my cheeks. I love the way you describe your daughter and your relationship with her. I have three boys (14, 12 and 8) and after giving up on having a daugher, I finally managed to grow one. She is now 15 months old and my world revolves around her. It only gets better from here, doesn't it? :) I'm so glad I happened across your daughter loving blog. Thank you!!!

GrandeMocha said...

I loved "use lots of sunscreen" & "using the F-word is okay, but make it count"!

I old my 7 yr old what the f-word meant when he asked, taught him how to use it in sentence, and told never to let any adults hear him use it. I told him that he could not use the excuse, "I didn't know what that meant."

Julie, The Wife said...

@Anissa, I know you didn't mean to post twice, but I love me a double dose of Anissa, ON the Record. Thanks.

@TZD/Sue I KNOW you both know I'm frequently thinking 'only five more years until I get my own office', and that F-word thing was happening anyway because Mommy swears...oh wait, you've both heard me. Be warned, middle school makes you this way.

@Wendy/Chick Norris - Who knew I could be a sap? Everyone who watches movies or commercials during the Olympics with me. I'm a total pushover who uses my sarcasm as a big ole shield, and the kids, CH, and George are on to me. But thanks.

@Melibo - Congrats on your girl, and Blue October rocks, no? I'm hoping to catch a show in April or May, I've never seen them live. Ever carry the weight of another....

@Grande, I'm with you, it's all about proper usage. The Edge says guitar notes are "expensive" so he doesn't use them unless necessary because then they mean more. I feel that way about the F bomb. I love to use it, but it only delivers the right impact when used properly. Good work, you.

Anonymous said...

My baby girl turned 20 on Sunday. (She also arrived without the epidural I had been counting on.) I'm a teen mother no more. I enjoyed your post from the other end of the spectrum.

Anita said...

Shit. Time to get the wine out. Only 2 years left. Wonder if Noah felt this way when the rain started to slow down. Like oh crap, no they'll all leave. Or, more like, get off my damn boat now....depends on the day, I guess.

Barbara said...

To tell her she is amazing, and have her believe it - really believe it -

Just had a good but heavy-sh** kinda day with my 21 year old baby daughter. Then I read this.

Lovely.....just lovely. Thanks.

RubyTwoShoes said...

I wasn't "one of those mums" either. when i blogged about birthing The Boy, I distinctly recalled not love at first sight so much as "i never ever want to fucking (making it count there) go through that again", and then i found out the birth wasnt even the hardest fucking (making it count again) part!

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