Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Avoiding My Tragedy

"All women become like their mothers. That is their tragedy. No man does. That's his."

~Oscar Wilde, The Importance of Being Earnest

A first Mother's Day is different than any other first holiday. When I gave birth to Zephyr, I, too, was borne into motherhood. I know it sounds trite and corny, but motherhood really does change everything, especially my identity as a woman.

Motherhood is different for every woman, obviously, but I think that motherhood is particularly poignant for the motherless. My own mom passed away 5 years ago, and never did I feel her absence more than on my own first Mother's Day. There's so much I wish I could ask her, yet at the same time I feel a slight sense of relief that this journey really is all my own, and I can venture in head first, unabated by tradition, or unwanted advice. I'm free to ace it with flying colors or completely fuck it up, all on my own.

I still have mixed feelings about my mother. I haven't yet decided if I admire her strength for sticking it out in the bad times, or if I judge her for being too weak to leave someone who was so irresponsible and cruel to her and her children for years. No woman I know wants to turn into her mother, but for me, I don't see how it's even possible.

I frantically try to remember what kind of mom she was, but find only fragments: dust-specked Sunday sunbeams through the windows of our apartment along Johnson Creek, comparing the relative merits of each of the Beatles (Ringo was her favorite); almost superstitiously paranoid of the dangers of children being out after 5:00pm, or of meat that is cooked any amount less than "to leather"; a lover of crafts, living simply (or the the idea of it), and Jim Croce; a crier at Hallmark cards and Humane Society advertisements (an embarrassed "don't look at me!" when caught); her distance (both spatial and emotional) from her own family. In some humble ways that are as much nurture as nature, I am just a bit like her after all.

Scott made delicious berry waffles gilded with a sprinkle of powdered sugar, sausages and mimosas for breakfast. After Zephyr woke from his morning nap, we went to the rhododendron gardens near our house. I thought it was free on Mother's Day, but instead they were having a plant sale so the place was pretty packed (in addition to there being a $3 admission). It was worth it, though - the rhodies were at their peak. The rhodie gardens also afforded Zeph his first close-up view of ducks. He thought they were pretty funny.

Firsts this week: Zephyr drank water from a glass, and when given his spoon of cereal, actually put it into his mouth all by himself! I had to put his hand almost all the way to the bowl of the spoon so he wouldn't gag himself on it, but he really seemed to get what it's all about.

Zephyr has really taken to his fingers and thumbs. This afternoon I went in to check on him when his nap was going long (I am serious about this schedule thing, and this article from Zero to Three backs me up), and he was blissfully sleeping with his little thumb in his mouth. This means that I never have to worry about a binky falling out of his mouth or getting lost, but it does mean that I might eventually have to break him of the habit. We'll cross that bridge when we come to it, I guess.
The rice cereal has been going really well. I've started adding the scantest touch of cinnamon to it to give him some new flavors. It makes his shit so garish, but I guess that's inevitable. He really does sleep in longer stretches when he's eaten solids before bed - the longest he went last week was almost 6.5 hours. The cutest thing is that when he eats something he likes (a blob of banana out of my crepe is a recent favorite), he grins and laughs with delight. I love that he's getting so much enjoyment out of food, but I'm also wary that he may still go through a picky phase. I'm reveling in it while I can. Seeing him get so happy over his first taste of something reminds me that the best things in life really are the simple things.


  1. Now I see where he got his big beautiful eyes.

    I hope he doesn't turn into a picky eater. Watching a baby eat something he really likes is one of life's great pleasures.

  2. It really is! I can't even imagine what it must be like to taste sweet, delicious things for the first time.

    (and thanks for the compliment!)

  3. He's such a smiley boy! Very handsome!

  4. Happy belated Mother's Day. You two are just gorgeous.

  5. Damn, your son may even be cuter than my own.....if that is possible.

  6. Loving these photos, dear.


Yay! Thanks for saying nice stuff about my baby.