Eli is five today. My mother claims that when I was a newborn, her mother in law told her, "You'll turn around and she'll have babies of her own." My Mom says she thought my grandmother was out of her skull - until it happened. I'm trying (and failing) not to let that happen with my own boys! I can't believe I have a five year old.
I will not claim that every day has raced by - the first four months of Eli's life, the ones in which he screamed 7 hours per day because of colic, passed more slowly than any days ever have in my life. But time is disappearing at an alarming rate - and yes, I know this is a deeply banal observation. Tough patooties - my blog, I can be boring if I want.
I always had a strange intuition that I would have a child with a disability. I don't know why. I remember thinking about it when I was pregnant with Eli, and praying for almost anything but autism. I thought that autism would mean that he couldn't love me, or acknowledge me. I was wrong about autism, and I'm not sorry my prayers were ignored. Autism didn't mean what I thought it did, and this is a case in which I was not a good judge of my desires or capacities. As so often is the case, either luck or
the hand of G-d or whatever...got me better results than my own choosing could have. I should try and remember that, next time I attempt to get all control-freaky about my future.
Motherhood and I are not a match made in heaven. Parenthood did not transform me instantly into the kind of person who is unfailingly loving, kind and generous. It is a bloody hard lot of work being nice when someone wants you to tickle them rather than permitting you to sip tea and read a long novel undisturbed. It is very annoying to have to be the grownup all the time. And no matter how much I love my children, becoming a parent did not transform me into the kind of person who wants to play peekaboo for three consecutive hours.
It amazes me that five years and two days ago that my leisure hours were my own, that my house was not decorate with brightly colored plastic toys and that cheerios were not a staple of both my diet and my carpetting. I miss that past in the nostalgic way that people who liked high school (not me!!!) miss high school - I don't think they'd really like to go back, just that they want a do over, a way to properly appreciate and enjoy what they have. But strangely, I like my life without free time, surrounded by noise and chaos and small people who want nothing so much as my undivided attention. I miss them when they aren't around (although I do make do with my novels ;-).
Anyway, Happy birthday Eli, from your chaotic, ambivalent, disorganized Mother. I love you even when you drive me nuts, even when I'm the most horrible Mom in the world and won't let you watch any tv. I wouldn't change a thing about you, except maybe the spaghetti stains on your shirt and ....socks?