Thursday, May 2, 2013

Extra wrinkles

I knew going in that I would get questions, funny looks, maybe someone would wonder if I was the mama or the gran.  I told myself I would handle it with grace and humor, never be hurt by it, and always be kind.  So far I am doing a pretty damn good job.

I took Elliott to lunch today, just the two of us, we shared brown rice topped with stir fried veggies and tofu.  I let him have sips of my green tea and he shared all his teething toys with me.  I am in love with this boy.

What is it like to be the mama of a 7 month old when you yourself are 47?  Pretty friggin' fantastic.  I won't lie part of me knew I was too old to be having a baby, not because I felt "old" but because I knew old was coming, and it is a train you can not stop.

My grandmother was 46 when I was born.  I have an old black and white photo of her holding me out in front of her barn-house on San Fernando Street, her hair was still thick and black, she was short and stocky, big breasted, shiny face and a long nose like mine.  She held me less like a precious package and more like a loaf of bread, didn't want to squeeze me too hard by knew she couldn't break me.  She is smiling in the picture, so am I.  I am bald and fair skinned, small, happy, comfortable in her arms.

My gram was my gram and to me she was always "old"mostly  because I had a young mom, just 19 years older than me and my aunts and uncles were young so were my cousins.  Looking back now I see that she wasn't old at all and what I would do to go back and time and have a good talk with her at that age...

I wonder if Elliott will see me as old?  Will he be resentful that I won't be pretty and perky, that I will have long given up trying to look like a 30 year old?  Will he be creeped out by the grey hair that is taking over, by the extra wrinkles around my eyes and around my mouth?  Will I be menopause crazy, hormonal and weepy instead of Premenstral crazy, hormonal and weepy, is there a difference?  Poor guy.

Will I hit some wall people hit and start forgetting where I put things, tell the same stories over and over, wear ugly shoes, say things like "thats a fine how-do-you-do"  Will he be embarrassed?  God I hope not.  Will I start falling apart, getting sick, need to wear pajamas in the day time?  Will the house smell like soup and over ripe bananas, will I offer his friends stale cookies, will I wear glasses that make my eyes look even bigger than they already are?

These are things I can't know, what I do know is that today he is an infant that just started saying me, to the dog, to Steve, and to the fish at the pediatricians office, it is still the most beautiful word in the world to me.  He is happy, I am happy.  I go to bed when he does and we wake up before the sun, lay in bed and nurse, I tell him sleepy stories about what kind of magical day we are going to have.  We will find an elephant in the back yard, grow a cupcake tree, throw all the shoes in the house away, buy a rocket ship and go to mars and eat puffy rice snacks.

I don't regret this choice, not today, not when I have this boy in my arms and he fills me up with hope and love and dreams for him.  I look forward to each new day and what new thing it will bring; sitting up without a pillow, tasting avocado, touching my face while he nurses, watching little birds in our tree fly down and drink from our fountain.

What is it like to be an old mama?  Like it was being a young one only better.  When you are young you are distracted, time doesn't mean as much to you because it seems like you will always have more of it than you need.  Today I know there is never enough time, and children can die of cancer, and there can't be anymore babies, and someday this will all be over and feel like a blink of an eye, so I hold onto every precious moment, I don't let my day go easily, I am grateful for everyone of them and make them last, savor the way it unfolds.

Now that my mom is gone I feel like time is moving faster for me.  She died young, in my family women live forever it seems, we don't age well but we spend a long time being old mean and ugly.  I can't die in my 60's Elliott will still need me, I can't get sick or be too mean or ugly because it won't be fair to him.

I don't worry about fitting back into my pre-pregnancy jeans, how I will schedule in the gym, a pedicure or some well earned "me" time.  I think about keeping my body strong, my mind young and maybe in a couple years getting my eyes done so they won't get lost behind the saggy lids I am sure to inherit from my father.  I stress out about saving for college, having life insurance, keeping my heart healthy.

It is easy to love this little boy, to get lost playing with him for hours.  It is easy to breastfeed, to know when to introduce solid foods, where to  look for a first tooth.  I don't worry about when he will crawl or walk, he will do it when he is ready.  I don't wonder when he pooped last, his body knows what to do.  I know what to do for a cold, a diaper rash, colic.  He falls asleep when he is tired, and he wakes up when he isn't anymore.  I wear him, he sleeps next to me, and I don't care what anyone calls it or thinks about it, I am way over that.  I have learned to trust my instincts.

The hard part is being afraid that one day he will look at me and ask me why I am so old, why I waited so long, that he will be hurting because I am gone and he still needs a mom.  I hate thinking that someday he will have to take care of me.

Most days I just enjoy this, I have no regrets, and some part of me feels like it is all going to be just fine.

I love this part of life, it's hard work, but it completes me and it doesn't matter how old I am.

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