From the very beginning of my pregnancy I decided that I wanted to try and savor the experience for the simple reason that I’m not sure if I will have the chance again to go through each step and phase of motherhood.
But savoring the experience doesn’t make me have any less of a need to be a typical mother, either. I still need to set boundaries for my child. I still need to establish a routine and work on discipline as time passes. Although Cole is too little to know what it means to interrupt, there will come a day in the near future where I will have to teach him manners and when it is appropriate to speak. As a mother, it won’t do him any favors to simply be at his beck-and-call, dropping everything to run to his side whenever he wants. He will need to learn how to handle things himself sometimes in order to become independent. He will have to learn that although I will always love him and take care of him, that doesn’t mean I will always cater to his every whim. I will still have to be a mother and that’s what mothers do.
The thing is, in the midst of motherhood and getting things done and running a household, I don’t want to forget how to savor him either. I don’t want to lose sight of embracing the little funny moments and tender minutes that I can share with Cole. I don’t want to be so focused on being a mother that I forget to pause and really experience this miracle in our lives.
My parents have just moved to the Dominican Republic and we’re not sure how long they will live there. It has never been very difficult for me to have them go live internationally – until now. Now I have Cole and I want him to be near his grandparents. I want my mom to be able to watch him grow and to build the kind of relationship where he knows and loves them just as much as they love him. We use video conferencing and my parents aren’t very interested in talking to me if Cole is asleep – they just want to see what new tricks he has and call his name as he looks into the computer screen. They just soak him up.
The other day Jason’s mom Sophia came over. She does that a lot just to hang out with Coleman while I work. Each time I went into the family room I saw them together. One time she was lying on the floor next to his play gym while he grabbed for the hanging toys. The next time they were dancing in the middle of the room. After that she was tickling him while he squealed and giggled his deep laugh. Next they were looking out the window with their heads close together and Cole’s hand on Sophia’s cheek. then of course, there were many moments where she was playing with him while he jumped in his jumparoo as well.
I have been thinking a lot about this idea of balancing the tasks of motherhood with the ability to savor motherhood at the same time. Is it possible to do both? I’ve decided that it is and I think that the way to remember to do it is to follow the example of Cole’s two Grandmas. Grandmas usually don’t have the day-to-day weight of the tasks of motherhood to deal with – they get to just savor and spoil their grandchild then send them home to Mom.
So for me, when I feel myself starting to allow the nuts and bolts and rigors of motherhood take over, I want to conjure up the visual picture of Sophia dancing with Cole in our family room and remember to take a moment to be like his Grandmas. Grandmas know how to savor. They love to just spend time without an agenda. They linger over tucking a child into bed just so they can have a few extra minutes together. They can be coaxed into one more story or one more hug or one more cookie.
Grandmas know how to savor – and I want to remember that sometimes it’s good for Mom to be a little like Grandma.