As I stand by C’s crib holding her tight in my arms my hips instinctively start to sway. Her doggy is on my shoulder and her head rests heavily on him. Her breath slows down and her hand comes up to pat my cheek. “I wuv you mammy” she mumbles around her pacifier.
“I love you two lovey.” I reply quietly.
We stand there for a few more minutes. Her now long legs wrapped around my waist, her arms encircling my shoulders. I sway and hum a quiet melody and I feel her relax, her nightmare slowly disappearing. Another minute and I put her back in her crib, she rolls over, hugs the doggy and sighs. All’s well in C land. She can sleep safely. Mommy made it all better.
I’ve been babysitting since I was 13. By the time I got pregnant I knew pretty much everything the books had to say about parenting, but I was petrified nonetheless. This was going to be my very own baby, not one I’d be able to return at the end of the day. This child, this little girl, was going to look to me for guidance, for discipline, and I didn’t know if I had it in me to be a parent. I knew M was going to be an awesome dad, but I also knew that when push came to shove, he’d also be looking to me for guidance, and I was scared that I wouldn’t always know the answer.
C was born, healthy and peaceful, and after four days the nurses and doctors packed us up an sent us home.
That first week I was fine all day long until just about 6pm when I would crumble into a heaving mass of tears. Something about the night terrified me. The thought that it would be just us, M, C, and me, alone in our home with no one to come to our rescue if she cried all night completely paralyzed me. Even M’s eternal calmness did nothing to appease me. But night after night C slept like an angel, waking only to eat, burp, and go right back to sleep. And I slowly discovered that we were going to be just fine. I grew to know her better and to trust that she wasn’t going to throw me too many curve balls. She got to know me and started to responded to my touch and calm down when I rocked her. And my fear receded. I may not have known it, but C saw me for what I was, a mother, her mother, the one who can make things better just by a kiss and a slow shimmy of the hips.
This post was inspired by the Blog Blast “What makes you a mother?” launched by The Parent Bloggers in honor of Mother’s Day and inspired by Light Iris. You have until midnight May 11th to participate, so get typing, or just go visit to see all the other amazing entries.