Thursday, February 14, 2013

Flannel Heart

“Honey, don’t ever buy me heart jewelry”, I chuckle. 
“Not even the T&A necklace that the Medicine woman designed?” 

Ha.  Now, Dr. Quinn is a woman of many talents, but her open hearted jewelry campaign just looks like boobs stacked on butt cheeks. Go ahead, look. Once you see it, you’ll be snorting with the rest of us. We are sick people.

No, Valentine’s Day has, like all other holidays around here, become kid-focused.  Don’t get me wrong, its fun.  We do a big v-day breakfast with strawberry pancakes and special heart shaped dishes. We make up funny rhymes and find food to spray with whip cream from a can.  This year, we are even going to brave the chocolate fountain we purchased years ago at a silent auction.  I’m sure it will go smoothly….no wrestling with steel pokers or spilled chocolate…..I’m sure no one will want to stick their face under the chocolate waterfall……
So I can hardly complain.  I have decided to put my effort towards our “family event”, but I would be lying if I told you that I don’t miss the old days.

Remember the old days, pre-kids?  Remember the first time you received a dozen red roses on Valentines’ Day? Sexy underwear in the mail? Remember that first Valentine card that made your cheeks blush….damn, this guys really likes me.  Maybe you liked him back.  Maybe you didn’t.  But, for a rare moment, you felt adored.

Adored ..and this is what falling in love is all about. To feel like out of everyone in the world, you have chosen Me.
Me…with my hiker’s legs.  Me…with my crooked tooth in front.  Me…with my lousy singing voice and road rage.  My distasteful mole. My inability to share dessert.

It doesn’t matter to you. You love me just as I am.
And this is hopeful. To know that despite our own tendency to self- hate, there is something redeeming about ourselves that someone else can see and cherish.  We are more than our own myopic view.  More than our own tiny needs and wants and complaints. We become larger, more powerful in this world when we know that there is someone who truly understands and advocates for us.  Romantic, or not. 

There is power in belonging to someone, not because you give up who you are as an individual, but because you realize life is worth more when it is shared. Given. Wholly. Without reservation.

Without reservations?  Like out to eat?  Yes, that sounds about right.
Somehow we go from feeling adored to…….well, less.

Babies are born. Beautiful babies that you dreamed about together before you were married.  Babies you prayed for.  Babies you named. Christened. Babies you sang over.

And they steal your heart.  In the most natural, gut-wrenching, intense, violent way.  You are theirs.  And they are yours…and just like from the very beginning, cord or not, you are connected. In a way, you have never been before…..ever.

Its not that our hearts are filled up with love for someone else. Its not a competition. Not mother over wife.  But, rather a shift.
Motherhood is encompassing.  It never stops. You never check out.  You are always on call. And for a while there, especially if you are a nursing mother, you are IT. You are the lifeline. Its frightening. Exhilerating. Powerful.

But, its also very humbling. I don’t care how many parenting books you have read. How many years you babysat. How many preschool classes you have taught. How many pediatric first aid classes you’ve mastered. You just don’t know what you are doing, until you are in the trenches. And the trenches can be a lonely place. 

So your heart shifts to this new role and its not always easy to remember who you were before. How this role came to be. This is completely self-inflicted.  Because, its pretty hard to feel sexy with young children.  I mean, we’re kind of a mess.
I remember nursing my first baby in a waterfall of tears.  Afraid to put him down for more than five minutes, I had not showered in three days.  My hair was a matted mess from sleeping in a rocking chair. My boobs hurt so bad I white knuckled the baby blanket everytime he latched on. I couldn’t imagine a time when I could sit up straight without wincing…….let alone be romantic……

Of course, this is not permanent.  No, then I morphed into a banana smeared, sleep deprived, permanent ponytail wearing, toddler mama. Sexy? I didn’t feel sexy. 
But we did end up with three more……so..

So, I have an amazing husband.  Who is Patient. And Generous. And Kind. And Forgiving.

And Persistant.
Persistant to remind me that I am more.  That I was enough before this role of mother.  That I was more than enough….I was adored. That I am adored.

Or course, this is my Valentine’s gift.
So tonight I will slip into something…flannel.  Probably covered in chocolate fountain remains.

And make reservations at ….the kitchen table with take-out @ 9. Probably with a kitchen sink full of dirty dishes and a counter cluttered with candy wrappers and medicine droppers.  

And exchange Valentines.  After all, its always good to have it in writing.

1 comment:

  1. Love your ability to get to the heart of the matter. And I'm sure you rocked the flannel!