When my little human is trying to get one over on me, I rely on a slightly creepy line to get the upper hand.
“I know what you’re doing, baby,” I say. “I know and see everything. You used to live in me. It’s part of the deal.”
At that point he fesses up and expresses wonder at my omniscience.
He’s a pretty smart kid, so I should have suspected he’d adapt.
When he’s trying to give me guff, he now says “I know (add whatever grounds for battle four-year-olds find here), mummy. I used to live in you. I know everything.”
This familial trait to boast all-knowingness even occurs when discussing memories made before he arrived.
“That was when I was an egg, so I was there, too,” he’s said about everything from an apartment I once lived in to trips to far off locales I’ve made, blissfully unaware I was less solo than I thought.
There’s something comforting about him wanting to have seen every moment of my world with me. But I wonder how much of who I am today that he’ll really know or see as he gets older. Also what parts of who I am will recede or expand as time marches on.
Motherhood, by necessity, changes us.
There’s one picture of my own mother from the days before my memory starts that always captures my imagination.
She’s young and confident, free from the shackles of the family she took on early and the hair-calming products she dearly needed. She was unmarked by the triumph and failures that followed and the wrinkles that now form in different sectors of her face depending on displeasure or happiness.
The woman in this faded old photo is and isn’t my mom in equal measure and that is neither good or bad.
But the dichotomy between mum and woman seems all the more interesting now that I have my own little human.
There’s a strong desire to turn myself inside out for my little know-it-all—to make sure he understands me and I understand him as he starts to get his bearings in his own world. At the same time, I want to maintain whatever it is that is unique to me, which is completely at odds with being turned inside out.
Motherhood is a beautiful head-wrecker, an adventure that only four years in I’ve come to realize can’t be mapped out or summed up in one Hallmark card occasion, like we’re getting this weekend.
So, while there’s nothing wrong in a little forced adulation, I just want to say…I know what you’re doing moms. And even on days when it seems like it’s not going that well, it’s pretty amazing.
Happy Mother’s Day.