My Worst and Best Momming Moments
Low: My daughter was not quite two and was just finding her freedom at the playground when it happened. Even as I saw it happening, I couldn’t quite make it to her in time to stop what happened next. The swing she was blissfully unaware of was hurtling back towards her, bigger kid on it, hard plastic whizzing forwards until the inevitable happened: it smashed right into where she’d been toddling. I was already lurching towards her trying to stop it in slow-motion, but it was too late. As the mom who was standing there scooped her up and passed my wailing child to me, I never felt lower in my mom career. Of course, five minutes later my toddler was happily bouncing and bopping around the playground again, and probably would have careened straight into yet another swing if I let her. But for my part, the worry and shame and fright lasted much longer.
High: My daughter learning, for the very first time, how to ride a big-kid swing. Everything comes full circle, and now suddenly she’s a bigger kid, gripping the rope, laughing hysterically and begging me to spin her fast, fast, faster mama, faster.
Low: When my infant daughter wails and screams for ten, then fifteen, twenty, sometimes thirty minutes in the car. Everyone always said their baby went right to sleep in the car, but mine only wailed and screamed as though the car were a hideous monster that I refused to save her from. Every morning commute was screaming practically all the way there. And my commute to bring her to Grammy (who watches her during the day) is 40 minutes long.
High: My daughter begs to sing along to Regina Spektor in the car, squealing with delight and shouting the words along with the songstress. Both of us are happy to be driving with the windows down and the piano music on full blast. Finally, a car trip that isn’t torture for both of us!
Low: I desperately need/want coffee, and my favorite coffeeshop is on our way to the park. When I get there though with my daughter in tow, I realize it’s one of their busier times, and there’s a longer line than usual. My little girl sees right away that the stool she normally loves to occupy while we wait for coffee here together is taken up by someone else, and immediately falls completely apart. We’re talking sobbing wails about the stool the stool the stool mamaaaaaa and I’m quickly wilting under the withering gaze of everyone in the coffeeshop just trying to get some work done, probably away from their own wailing little ones. I reluctantly but firmly escort my writhing wiggling wailer away, sans coffee. Cue despair.
High: Finding a coffeeshop that has a children’s section, bringing a book along with us one day, and reading for twenty whole minutes while she plays, periodically checking in with me for a bite of my bagel, but all in all, quite enjoying herself without losing her little mind over a stool. I sip my coffee and think, yes. This really is pretty much perfection, right here. A content child, coffee, and a bagel with only a few bites stolen from me (mama confession, I really hate sharing my food, even though I always agree pretty amiably to it).
Of course, then she dragged me over to the children’s section and away from my book and was sad when we had to leave, and there are times when she’s still sad in the car over a dropped toy or sticker book, and there are boo-boos to kiss from the playground still. But I am finding certain joy in the symmetry of childhood and motherhood; the highs match the lows, the lows diminish over time, leaving a lot of joys in their wake. It’s not perfect, but it’s enough. I’ll take the symmetry.