Sunday, May 8, 2011

Overwhelmed With Love

“It is all very surreal.” I told my doctor the day after The Beast was born. The Beast, swaddled in a baby blanket, lay tiny on my legs that were propped up slightly so I could examine her little alien features. I did not feel a deep maternal connection to this little being. I felt terror and exhaustion.

The doctor looked at me and she said, “I know.” She picked up the little alien and continued, “Let me tell you what happens.” She said in her doctor-patient mode voice, “ It all feels new and scary and this little baby goes home with you and you love her now, but in 2 weeks your love will double and every two weeks your love will double for her. And this is what is really surreal—there will come a time—at about six months when you feel you could not love another being more than you love this little creature and then it will happen—your love will double. It is really overwhelming and it does not stop. But you will get use to it—sort of” she said and handed back the little creature and told me to try to rest.

The Beast looked at me with her dark, dark unfocused eyes—I put the little Beast on my chest and relaxed into the sterile hospital bed. “I normally trust modern medicine,” I thought—“we will see…”as we both fell asleep.

The Beast still sometimes falls asleep leaning against my chest with my arms wrapped around her just like that first day. And what my doctor said turned out to be true. If I am not careful I am overwhelmed with love. It could be something so simple as seeing The Beast practice the piano or striding down the street toward us—suddenly it hits me-- like having the wind knocked out of me and I think: How is it possible to love anyone THIS much?

Saturday, May 7, 2011

It is NOT Family Day

“So…what are you doing for Mother’s Day?” Mr. Attorney inquired on our way home from the city after a RATHER long week.
“Nothing….absolutely nothing” I said with complete satisfaction.
There was a very slight pause and then the cross-examination began.
This is where I should mention that Mr. Attorney views my world, my upbringing, my relationships to my relatives, my hopes and aspirations as though he is Margaret Mead who has just stumbled upon some wild, completely undocumented tribe.
My nice nickname for Mr. Attorney is “20 Questions” because god forbid he is satisfied with just one answer. So the questions begin:

You are not seeing your mother-in-law?—No.
You are not seeing your sister or sister-in-law?—No.
Does your husband see his mother?—Yes.
Does your daughter see her grandmother?—Yes.
And you don’t go with them?—You’re a smart one!

And the questions continue—“Why? Why don’t you see the rest of your family on Mother’s Day? !!”
“It is not F-ing Family Day genius…it is MOTHER’S Day. If my mother were alive I would send her a card and call her and thank her for always being there for me, but she is not, so I don’t. I am the mother—I get the card and the flowers and the ability to do whatever I want on MY DAY. “

You would think this little declaration would definitively settle in Mr. Attorney’s mind what my position on Mother’s Day is…a day FOR ME…a mother.

“Don’t you appreciate your mother in law?” Mr. Attorney attempts to wriggle guilt into my perfectly blissful day.

“I think over the years of traveling together we have clearly established that I am from Venus and you are from Uranus and we will never see eye to eye on anything. Why must you rain on my happiness? I know what you are trying to do, but PLEASE don’t even attempt the Jewish guilt on me—I am an atheist by way of Episcopalian—the ONLY guilt we feel is for not using the correct fork during a meal.”

His little bespectacled face crumples in thought as I pull up to his old Buick parked in the commuter parking lot in the small old-fashioned downtown. “Isn’t that a beautiful car?” He says. He knows my answer because he knows me…

I throw him a bone, because I don’t want start a fight on design and safety of cars at the end of our commute. “It’s you.” I tell him. “Have a good Family Day!” I call out to him as I drive off to luxuriate in MY Mother’s Day Weekend sans family.