I think that the most surprising part of new motherhood, for me, was the realization that I’d love my son no matter what. I’d love him because of and in spite of any of the whats and all of the whats.
Which got me thinking. Over the years, I’ve loved many things. Some, I’ve thrown into the literal or proverbial garbage after having my fill. Others, I’ve wrapped lovingly in a box with tissue paper and ribbons and tucked them away on a protected closet shelf. Still others have been left behind with no particular ceremony or reason other than the moving on that happens. Other than the life that happens.
Here’s a glimpse of some of my loves over the years. Forgotten loves. None of them are beyond the realm of the regular, but all of them are, or have been, mine.
Toddler-me loved sucking her thumb and she loved Big Dolly. Big Dolly was not necessarily big, impressive, or really even a dolly by today’s standards. Her skin was more matched to a salmon’s flesh than to my own, and her awkward plastic arms, head and legs were somehow sewn to a body that was crafted using the model of a small pillow. Her hair, before it was all loved off, was clumped in sections, sprouting from her head.
I used to love horses, troll dolls, mood rings and rocks. They held power and goodness and warm-fuzziness and magic and secrets.
Later, it was boys. But, only secretly, and from afar, because I was too shy and too worried to talk to them.
And then, later than that, it was boys. Although, no longer secretly or from afar because I somehow accidentally learned that they were mostly even more scared of me than I was of them.
I used to love staying up all night laughing and drinking and playing card games with friends. I used to love going out for breakfast at 3am. I used to love loud clubs and fancy drinks and the thrill of meeting strangers. The what-ifs and the wondering.
I used to love the right man for then but not the right man for forever.
Adrenaline and risks and dares and scares. Yup, them, too.
Other things that I’ve loved will never have a “used to” in front of them. Scuba diving, snuggling, and the friends that I have shared moments so wonderful and amazing that they’ve served as inspirations and dreams and confirmation of the where in which I belong. My family and my husband and every dog that I’ve been lucky enough to call my own. Those are the things that will never have a “used to” in front of the love. They will be for-always love, and for all the way.
While I used to love the idea of being a mom, I love the realness of being a mom even more. Some of the Tucker-things that, prior to being a mom, I had no idea how much I’d love include:
His stinky gorilla feet. Because they are his and they work and allow him to run and to jump and to play. The fact that we have to special-order gorilla-wides for him and the fact that they are occasionally mostly stinky doesn’t matter. Usually.
The spot on the back of his neck where his hair comes to a little point that always sticks up a bit.
His giggles, his demands, his smiles, his struggles (I do not love the fact that he struggles, but they, in themselves, are worthy of a mention because he works so hard, friends…so hard), his waves, his glee and his wonder.
His age and all of the ages before now and after now.
His voice. That he’s learned to say “Eye-you, Mommy” at night. That he loves me back. And is trying to tell me. I can wait for the day that he says it correctly. I’ll wait.
While I can’t say that I love all of the hims, all of the time, I love most of the hims enough of the time to realize how important it is to nurture him, and myself, in the best ways that I know how. Sometimes I do an acceptable job. Sometimes, less than. But when sitting in a rocking chair, looking back on all of the things that I used to love about my little boy, mostly, I know that I’ll remember that even the used-tos are still nows, and that his Tuckerness is my gift. Wholly and for always.
This has been a Finish the Sentence Friday post. Today’s sentence is “I used to love…” Come join us and play! Next week’s sentence is “I wasn’t really myself when I…”
Janine: Janine’s Confessions of a Mommyaholic
Kate: Can I get another bottle of whine?
Stephanie: Mommy, for Real
Me: Finding Ninee