Dear Lily June,
They say, Parenting changes you. They say, You suddenly grow up, take responsibility, and become a real adult when you have a child. On the first account, they couldn’t be more right. On the second, in my case, they couldn’t be more wrong.
When I got pregnant with you, I was already restless from decades of being “the responsible one,” the one who worried too much, paid bills on time, never took chances or risks. I was safe, secure, and an entirely bored and boring capital-A adult.
Then, there was you. You, who have been the most exciting surprise of my life.
Far from making me into some grumpy, frumpy settled woman, you set my life alight anew. Your presence encouraged me to try the new things I’d been scared to do before, putting items in my bucket list like “Get eyebrows done.” It sounds so small and stupid, but I’d never felt beautiful enough before to focus on my appearance.
Then, there was you. You, who smiles at me when my hair is less hair and is more dreadlocks cemented in formula.
So yesterday, while your Dad watched you, I treated myself to a Mommy bucket list item, and not only got my eyebrows done. I took a risk, took a chance, and got my hair partially dyed purple. Why not? You only live once, and suddenly, I felt thirty-one going on thirteen.
I want to be able to tell you, someday, Yes, Lily, getting her eyebrows waxed did make your mommy cry a little in front of strange teenage girls getting prom updo’s. Yes, getting my hair dyed purple did make their mothers scowl at me like I was some young ruffian.
Yes, Lily, it did feel good to feel young again, and you’re never too old to feel that way if you want to.
And it’s all because of you. You, who makes each holiday–like our Mother’s Day today–a first. You, whose firsts give me a reason to get excited to get up in the morning just to see what you’ll do, like in the incredible “gifts” you gave me this past week just by existing:
- You said your first meaningful, in-context word. We handed you a rubber ducky in the bath, and you said, “Duh-Duh-Dut. Duck.” I have never been so excited to hear the word “duck” in my life. Next up? Mallard. Say Mallard, Lily. You’ll get it.
- Your first claps. Dear universe, please cue up Pharrell Williams immediately. Happiness IS the truth.
- Your first followed command. I said to go get Bob (pronounced “Baaaahb”), your stuffed lamb/sheep lovey. And lovey, you did!
- Your first dance. I feel good to know that it was to Feel Good, Inc. And honey, you got the rhythm nailed.
- Your first “I love you.” Okay, so it comes out more like “vah-vuh-vmpf.” But the cadence is there, Lily, so let a mom dream, okay? After all, I say without exaggeration that you’ve been giving hugs (read: snuggles) and kisses (read: slobbers) since four months old, so you’re clearly the World’s Most Affectionate Baby Ever.
Overall, while I’m grateful for all the gifts you and your dad gave me today for Mother’s Day, like the sign you directed your dad to paint, the jewelry you graciously let him pay for, the gift card you encouraged him to get me, the lasagna you supervised him baking, etc., the best gift is the gift of life YOU gave ME. And you thought it was supposed to be the other way around, didn’t you? You nut. 🙂
Mommy’s First Before & After Beauty Day:
BEFORE (Eyebrows, Close-Up)
Happy First Outside-My-Tummy Mother’s Day, Lily June.
And to all the Moms out there, whether your hair is purple or falling out, whether you call them “stretch marks” or “tiger stripes,” whether you have “love handles” or a “baby sidecar,” look into your baby/child’s eyes. See yourself in there. Isn’t that reflection beautiful?