Mom, I get it now.
May 8th marked my first Mother's Day with our family of 4 (fur baby included) and as I sit here nursing Mía and reflect on our almost 8 months together, I instantly start getting flashbacks of times my Mother and I shared together.
Let me start from the beginning, I was born in southern Vietnam 31 years ago to a newly married couple. My Father fled our beautiful (but politically turmoiled country) when I was still an infant in search of a better future for his new family. It was just my Mother and I for nearly five and a half years before we were reunited with my Father in Nova Scotia. I think that is why I share a different bond with her than my siblings do.
I can remember so many occasions growing up when she would tell me "you will understand when you are a mom someday" usually right after I got annoyed with her because for the billionth time she would tell me to be careful, or be weary of strangers, or lock my doors, or put a jacket on because it's cold outside. I really didn't get why she worried so much about everything and each one of us when we were out of her sight, I used to think it was because she didn't trust us or something. Now I get it.
You see, this strange thing happens when you become a mom, you start envisioning the worst case scenarios that involve your child. For example, when I'm walking down a steep hill with Mía in her stroller, I envision tripping and letting go of it and she goes flying into on coming traffic. So I walk a little slower and hold on extra tight with both hands and even sometimes wrap my diaper bag strap around my wrist for safe measure. When she is coughing I immediately think she must have whooping cough or pneumonia, although I'm a health professional and I know that is not logical to jump to the worst case scenario. When she bumps her head I start fearing that she has a concussion or a brain haemorrhage, but in all actuality she is just fine. At first I started to think there was something wrong with me, maybe I had a condition that needed to be dealt with or that I was the only person that had these strange and extreme thoughts and fears. After chatting to a few moms I quickly realized that I was not alone and that it actually makes sense on an evolutionary level to have a heightened sense of fear for your offspring's safety and well-being. A mother's intuition can be a powerful thing and this is all part of that crazy strong connection that one has with their child (biological or not).
Mía is almost 8 months now and she is constantly on the move, crawling into the most impossible spaces and pulling herself up onto just about anything she can get her hands latched onto. She even looks at me and lets go of her grip to lean/step towards me, even when I am barely close enough to catch her. She is so eager to fly through these milestones and beyond brave to the point that my heart pounds with anxiety when I see her so unsteady and free. I spend my days following her around our home with anxiety and fear that she could fall within seconds and hurt herself. I know that it is enviable that she will have bumps and bruises being the active and curious child that she is but it still kills me to think I can't shield her from harm all the time. She has no idea I am constantly fearing the worst for her because I love her so much that the thought of her being hurt is the most heart wrenching and devastating thought I could ever have. However, when she is old enough and I start sounding like my mom and tell her "you will understand someday when you are a mom" I'm sure she will have a moment as a new mom when she will think "I get it now."
Here are a few photos from our first Mother's Day together. My husband and babe surprised me with an announcement to get dressed because we were going out. I had no clue what we were doing but it was fun to try and guess! They brought me to the adorable Rhubarb Restaurant in Indian Harbour where we had gotten married a year and a half prior. So thoughtful and sweet! It was a great day spent eating, laughing, and playing... I couldn't have asked for a better day!