I really 'feel' like a mom. Not because I’ve carried and borne a child. Nor because I have laundered and folded (and also tossed into the corner) tiny little onesies and socks. Or changed poopy diapers and cleaned spit-up (for the hundredth time- already) from my shirt and surrounding furniture. Or that I clip coupons, freeze meals or browse craigslist and yard sales for good baby deals. I feel like a mom now because I have shed inevitable tears for my daughter. Not those of joy like from the first few hours after she was born, but tears of worry and sadness. I'm sure it all comes with the territory, but it doesn't mean that I have to like it!
Within the past few weeks, I’ve had several instances where being Kiera's Mommy has brought me to tears. The first were during her two-month-old shots (it might have been because I also got my flu shots at the same time) when she cried out in pain from the three needle sticks and icky crap they put in her mouth. Fortunately for us, it was short lived and Baby Kiera won’t remember it (I, on the other hand, will!). In comparison, her four-month shots were brutal. Only two needle pokes but they made her cry for nearly an hour. And it was a cry of anguish that I’ve not really heard before.
We are very lucky parents- Kiera is a sweet natured little soul and very rarely cries for more than a few minutes- it’s usually because a) she’s hungry b) she’s tired and is fighting nappy time or c) there is something really wrong. This cry was d) none of the above. It was a full-body sobbing, lip quivering, tears streaming down her cheeks, raspy throated wail. It didn’t even bother me that I was getting stared at by passers-by whom I sure were wondering why the hell I couldn’t shut my child up. (Hello people- I was at a doctors office- not Disneyland!) It hurt me to the core to see her like that even though I knew why she was so upset and the episode would be short lived. And it was- once she finally cried herself to sleep, she was same perky self when she woke up. She forgot; I didn’t.
Just two days later, my "mom-ness" was taken to a new level. I was doing a little last minute shopping with my own mom and called Jason to tell him that we were running late. He answered quickly and proceeded to tell me he had been in a car accident- and he had Kiera. Although he did tell me that it was relatively minor; I immediately felt sick to my stomach. I quickly found my mom and made a beeline to where he said they were. It took every ounce of will power to maintain a collected composure. All of the cars were moved to a nearby parking lot and even though there weren’t any emergency vehicles other than two police cars, I still lost it when I saw Jason. I was worried sick, physically sick over Kiera’s well being. I was worried about my husband too, but Kiera was of course my first concern. I was worried beyond any level that I thought possible before I became a mother. Okay, so part of it was because of having to make a second claim with our insurance in a week- yes, seven days (some nice, nice- I have another name for them that's best not written on a blog- person decided to back over the hood of my car in a parking lot and just drove away- $4,100 in damage later); and possibly having to replace the car seat of our Graco travel system; but the thought of anything happening to my daughter was sickening. About the accident: to make a long story short, an unlicensed, uninsured teenager failed to yield- or look, for that matter- while turning right on a red and sideswiped my husband; and in trying to avoid a more serious collision, he swerved and hit the SUV in the lane next to him. There were no injuries, and even the damage to the cars were minor, but it didn’t matter. Anyways, Kiera was fine- she cried because she could feel our agitation. A few hours later, she was smiling like she usually does. (On a side note: we received the police report, and the investigation has found that the red-light runner was 100% at fault- now we just have to see what our insurance company does. The damage to the car that Jason hit was a dent the size of an orange on the front quarter panel of the SUV. )
Incident number four was this past week during a playgroup- Kiera just started crying (same cry as the one from the doctors’ appointment) for no reason. None of the efforts that a combined four mommies did seemed to help; after about 40 minutes she had cried herself to sleep. I’m thinking that she might have had some tummy trouble and was totally uncomfortable. The one thing that killed me during this was at one point she looked at me through tear-filled eyes that pleaded, “Mommy, please make me feel better.” Ugh, it hurt me to the core. I felt so very helpless. If there was something that I could have done to instantly cure Kiera’s discomfort and make it my own, I would’ve done so in a heartbeat. Without thinking twice.
And now she has a cold- runny nose, congested, little cough. I have the same cold (this is the second one in six weeks- and I used to NEVER get sick!) so I can only imagine how she feels- I can at least numb myself with cold medicine. She just gets infant Tylenol, saline drops and some big old green bulby thing that tries to suck her brains out through each nostril. She started not feeling well yesterday- she was a little cranky (you would probably laugh if you saw what our version of cranky is) and when she wasn't sleeping, she wanted to be held all day. I knew that my sweet little soul was still there despite feeling like crap as she did flash us one of her amazing little smiles every so often. She napped for longer than usual periods today- thankfully. She even seems to be feeling a bit better. But it’s still hard for me to see her that way. I wish that there was something more that I could do to make her more comfortable!
I would have to say that seeing my daughter uncomfortable and in pain is the hardest part of being a mom. Even comparing it to the swift, epiduraless delivery, this hurts worse. I don't remember reading anything in the parenting books that clues you in to this. Maybe that's a sign- I'll write a how-to book on how to deal with.... who am I kidding, this particular hard part of motherhood has just begun and I'm still a Freshman. I know that there will be so many more tears running down both baby's and mommy's cheeks over the years- some of those easier to wipe away than the others. It's part of the rites of motherhood; and I am honored to have the privelege of drying every single one from my daughter's eyes.