A few weeks ago Madee was captivating some people at the local drugstore and this old guy, after smiling/laughing/soaking up some real Madee goodness, says to her as he leaves, “Grow her up to be a good mommy.”
And for some reason I haven’t been able to forget it, which is annoying, because the guy said it like he was trying to make some ineffable point, just like so many people one runs into when one has a baby. And although most people’s comments go in one ear and out the other, because I am barely rested/focused/caring enough to listen in the first place, (not that I could, ever, listen to every bit of advice that every stranger seems to feel compelled to impart) for some reason this guy made some point to me that stuck that day.
I guess there are just so few defining moments in our lives that we get to share with another person. So much of what happens to us in our lives happens to us alone. It is what makes us unique, and what drives us to find others like us, others who may have been part of some feeling that we too one time shared. But as much as we can relate to someone else’s defining moment, or experience one event together that in some way connects us deeply, there are few that we truly share that shape the rest of our lives.
There was Charlie and there was Karmen, and our wedding was this huge defining moment for the two of us. From that moment on there was more than just the one, and we share huge soul connecting experiences together now, because we committed our lives to each other forever (and beyond!) and now plan to spend future defining moments together or at least share them if they happen to us separately.
But it is one thing to commit yourself to something that can speak its own mind and, for the most part, wipe its own butt.
And then there was this one magical indescribable moment when I became a mother, when Charlie became a father, and Madee became a real/tangible/intricate person. It was a supernova kind of defining moment because it changed each of our lives in this huge irreversible way.
I realize that my future is certain: I am now and will be a mother. Madelyn Van Derven’s mother. And lately I realize the gravity of the fact that every choice I make, the language I use, the reactions I display, every relationship I expose her to will shape her future, and shape my future as Karmen Van Derven, Madelyn’s mother.
I just want to be the kind of mother that she looks back on and says, “Wow”.
And not in a bad way.
Parenthood is so much more than growing this little individual and arming her with the knowledge/ability/confidence to wipe her own butt one day. This isn’t just about the rest of her life. We are setting the pace for the rest of every member of our little family’s existence.
I don’t mean that in this huge, “every moment counts/I can’t believe you would do that/we have to be so aware every minute” kind of way. I mean that in a “we have to relax and be open and challenge our understanding and exhibition of love and wealth and excellence and grace and humility and really grow into better human beings together” kind of way.
I want Madelyn to remember the love/patience/goodness and how we made her feel safe/loved/accepted and that she becomes a healthy/happy/well-adjusted adult who isn’t afraid to challenge/dare/dream.
And I hope we all look back and say, “Wow.”
Grow a good mommy, little one. Your father and I will do every thing in our power to create the kind of environment in which we can all grow a great you. And a great mommy and daddy. And a great family.