Push

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This is a picture I took of Fable this morning, riding the tire swing before school with her best friend. She was singing when I took this. Pushing off with her feet and singing a song about squirrels in the red tutu she picked out this morning, the second of two costume changes after the first felt uninspired. And I watched her. From up close and then back from beyond the fence I pushed my face against to watch her, I thought, Wow. That's my girl. She's her girl, first, of course. But she's also mine. She's mine because she belongs to my heart.

To hell with sleep, whatever wanderlust, I get to be in my children's lives. I get to watch them grow into unique little people, with their own ideas and philosophies, styles and songs. I get to watch them experience the joy of first friendship and pride of pink hair and the euphoria of spinning around in circles without getting violently sick. 

"Push me, mama! Push me!"
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I used to do the same thing. I used to have the same expression as I flung my head back, hands on the chain. I used to get off the tire, dizzy as hell, fall on my face and just laugh

Now, every time I spin, I feel sick. I feel sick and instead of letting myself fall down, I try to walk a straight line. I try to walk the straightest line I can, touch my nose, keep walking. Don't want anyone to see I'm dizzy, know I'm nauseous, see me stumble.

My mom used to tell me that when she was a kid she'd go to the fair and ride the Zipper ten times in a row. How the older she got the harder it was for her to spin and then one day she threw up and that was that. 

"That will never happen to me," I told her. "I'll ride the Zipper until I'm 100!"

But every year I got a little more nauseated and at nineteen years old, I took my last ride. 

After that, I watched. I watched with my mother and we winced.

"Can you believe you ever went on that ride?"

"No. Can you?"
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My first times are all over, I think. And then I watch as my kids' are just beginning. Archer's reading his first chapter book and Fable's on the tire swing with her first friend, and last week Reverie's first teeth came in and then Bo clapped her hands for the first time. She was so proud she performed an encore and we all stood to ovate. 

My first time's are not all over. 

Because of them.

Because I'm watching Fable in the swing and listening to Archer read his book and Bo's in my lap with her applause and Revi keeps biting my finger.  

Because these are my firsts, too. Except this time, I get to watch and listen and see and learn and remember. But mostly, I get to learn.

I didn't "give anything up" to be their mother. I just gave a few things away. But, oh, what I got in return, what I keep getting, what I will always ALWAYS have

"Push me," Fable says. "Push me FASTER"

So I push. I push her around and around and faster she goes and she's spinning and spinning and spinning and I'm watching her spin so fast her face blurs, except this time, I'm not the slightest bit dizzy.
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GGC

32 comments:

andrea & dean | 12:13 PM

beautiful and SO true!

Dee | 12:17 PM

I hope one day i get to be at least half the mom you are. You're kids are the luckiest!

Marie-Ève | 12:19 PM

It's especially posts like these that keep me coming back. <3

Amelia | 12:24 PM

So your post before about the concrete made me want to comment to you facebook (so I did) and that comment got me thinking that I wanted to elaborate more on that (so I did in this post:http://ameliawalton.com/2012/05/16/a-mother-and-a-woman/) and now this post just makes me want to get all internet creeper and tell you that I wish that I could give you a big hug and thanks (don't worry, I won't) because YES! What a wild and emotional and personal breed of firsts lay ahead of us 'first time for anything' lovers. YES, yes, yes! Really, I appreciate your brand of truth so much, huzzah.

Sarah | 12:26 PM

What a beautiful post! This is what I love most about motherhood - the seeing for the first time things I've seen a thousand times, the way motherhood sharpened my perceptions of life and love because I am learning everything all over again through their amazing eyes.

Amelia | 12:26 PM

So your post before about the concrete made me want to comment to your facebook (so I did) and that comment got me thinking that I wanted to elaborate more on that (so I did in this post: http://ameliawalton.com/2012/05/16/a-mother-and-a-woman/) and now this post just makes me want to get all internet creeper and tell you that I wish that I could give you a big hug and thanks (don't worry, I won't) because YES! What a wild and emotional and personal breed of firsts lay ahead of us 'first time for anything' lovers. YES, yes, yes! Really, I appreciate your brand of truth so much, huzzah.

shutterbean | 12:32 PM

you amaze me.

Forgotten | 12:35 PM

Oh angel. There is never any "giving up" to be a parent. You never give up. You give your heart, your money, your time, your love, your wishes. You give them to these tiny people who will break your heart, spend your money, fill your hours, love you back, and give you more to wish for. But in having children, you give hope for more but you never give up.

Carra Nicholes | 12:47 PM

God, I love you. Without fail, I get goosebumps each time I read your posts. Thank you for sharing with us. I feel like I'm less alone when I read your blog.

xoxo

Red Stethoscope | 12:55 PM

That first picture captures the essence of childhood perfectly. Red tutus and tire swings before school, indeed.

Red Stethoscope | 12:56 PM

That first picture captures the essence of childhood to me. Red tutus and tire swings before school, indeed.

Polly | 1:07 PM

Amen

RidinginCarswithBoys | 1:09 PM

Gorgeous.

Your words and that magical girl. WIth tutus and pink and sunshine in her hair.

xo.

Anonymous | 1:15 PM

I've never commented before, but... I'm a parent to an almost 3 year old. And I get stuck. I get stuck on all the things I gave up. Most of my friends do not have kids, and I'm learning to make mommy friends. And I get stuck on all the things I gave up, but then I read your blog today and I feel lighter. Lighter because I didn't give them up; I chose to let them go so I can watch my son have his firsts. And I'm grateful. Thanks for the post. You changed my day!

Avalon | 1:19 PM

Sometimes words are inadequate when trying to describe the depth of something. Sometimes they are simply perfect.

This is perfect.

Brianne Drlich | 1:30 PM

Love. So much.

Kelly @ herringbone lane | 2:04 PM

Beautiful. I'm not a mother, but if I were you would be the type I'd want to be.

Kate | 2:45 PM

It's helpful to get a push after a pull. Great full circle thoughts for the week.

papa bebop hippo | 1:51 AM

Nice...uplifting to read... well appreciated for a stay at home papa w a 3 year old amazing girl and a 8 wk old colic case lil fella...much needed. You get drenched in rain and forget about the sun sometimes.... cheers

Lindsey | 4:26 AM

Beautiful, beautiful ... I so agree with you on one of your first points, about how they are not "ours" (it's one thing I believe so firmly, and that many people disagree with me on). And the firsts, and what we've given away and what we've gained ... oh there is just so much here that speaks to me. Thank you, thank you. xo

Ray | 1:45 PM

Beautiful.

Years ago: I got on a roller-coaster and afterwards I felt nauseous. I was afraid it meant I couldn't ride them anymore, but that wasn't the case. I can still get on roller-coasters.

Those rides that spin you round and round can be awful, though. ;o)

Margo | 9:51 PM

Thank you so much for this. I have a 2 year old and a 5 week old and, like you, I'm not sleeping much. I dread nighttime because of the illusion of sleep. I want to sleep, but know I will not get to sleep. I am dangerously close to resenting my current state, and reading your post today gave me the reminder that I desperately needed of why I wanted to have children in the first place. Thank you, from the bottom of my sleepless, exhausted heart, for having the courage to share your thoughts when I don't have the courage to share mine. Thank you for reminding me that I didn't give anything up, I'm just pushing it aside for awhile. It's worth it, I know it is- I just needed to be reminded.

Jessica | 4:08 PM

You are so awesome.

<3 to you and your family.

ps-I stumbled across your book at the library and was so happy to finally read it. Beautiful stories, beautiful words. When it was over, like all great books I read, I was like "BUT WHAT NEXT?" And then I realized that you write like that every single day and I can come here and sit and be inspired and comforted. Thank you, Rebecca, for writing. Don't ever stop.

Beth | 5:44 PM

Oh, how I needed this. Thank you.

stillatit | 6:07 PM

Thank you. So much. I really needed this. In a BIG way.

SalW | 8:52 PM

Beautiful post, and that pic of Fable? I'm speechless!

Sometimes when I feel like I'm caught up in the relentless grind and I think about all the things I've given up, it's all to easy to forget what a gift I've been given, to witness all these firsts. I love that perspective and your take on things, as always Bec.

PS I love your writing and following your gorgeous family (and I apologize for not commenting nearly enough to say so!).

Allison the Meep | 5:26 AM

You can just go ahead and add "Professional Extractor of Tears" to your resume, because I'm all Weeps McGee after reading your posts lately.

Farnés | 6:01 AM

Wow, yes! The insight... not experiencing any more firsts... seems like an illusion after your amazing post. There will be more firsts, just different ones, their ones, maybe even better ones.

Noelle's Mommy | 11:08 AM

Awesome post

Anonymous | 2:43 PM

Wow I'm so glad I read that. I've been scared of impending motherhood for all that inevitably will get left behind. Thank you for sharing such a lovely perspective on what is gained!

Lindsay | 10:17 PM

That. was. beautiful.

freckletree. | 10:24 AM

Beautifully said. It's always so nice to sit down and read your posts, you've always got an insight that speaks to me. Thanks for sharing as you grow.

Also, I always love ANY post with pictures of Fable. For some reason she reminds me so much of my Lydia. They really look nothing alike but kind of eerily alike at the same time. Not that she needs any extra reasons to be loved.

You're awesome mama, maintain that zen. xoxo