Tuesday, September 22, 2009

me/we

This weekend we celebrated nine months of being a family. For many women it takes nine months to become a mother, but as I continue to grow in this role I realize that although I may have become a mother when the adoption decree was signed and stamped, I am still becoming a mother. It was a process that began in the moment that I decided to adopt, decided to become a mother, but it was like school. I spent that time studying, observing and interviewing (it sounds so clinical, no?). I watched other mothers, reflected back on my own mothering, discussed different thoughts or observations with my sister, mother, friends and sometimes even strangers.



I learned what so many have learned—classroom studies only take you so far. At some point you graduate, they hand you a child and you quickly learn that while the book reports that patting Susie Q’s back when she is fussy stops her crying, it does not work on your child. So you improvise. You try different things, sometimes unconventional things. But it works. The baby is happy. You are happy and you file what you have learned away somewhere deep in your brain. You learned what a book couldn’t tell you. You learned something that only you and your baby know. No grandparent, daycare worker or other mother can replace what you and your child share.



I had to be away from Duc for several days. It was unplanned, sudden, and neither of us was prepared for it. It was difficult for me, but I could tell it was more difficult for him. He was angry and in the few minutes that we did see each other every day he ran from me and clung to my mother. It was heartbreaking and I cried following our time together. I couldn’t wait to get home and take care of him. But it wasn’t easy when I got home. He wasn’t angry with me anymore, but he acted out and intentionally did things to get my attention—touching things that he knew that he wasn’t supposed to touch, trying to get into things that were not good for him. I reflected on all the advice, all the magazines, shows, and books I had read and I realized they were all wrong. In the midst of all this I noticed some other new behavior and I realized that what he truly needed was me. That was all. No more. No less.



Last night I watched Duc get between my mother and her dirty dishes in the sink. He started pushing her away. What seemed like a game was something else entirely and I was able to tell her what he taught me, “Mom, he just needs you stop and hold him for a few minutes.”



He needs extra cuddle time, and you know what? I need that too. I walked away from my blog for nearly two weeks so we could do that. No camera, no computer, no cleaning up. Just me and him. We went to the park a lot. We rode the slides a lot. We rough-housed, played ball and tickled each other until we laid exhausted on the floor. I learned that he can blow raspberries on my bellies, just like I have done to him so many times before. And I learned that motherhood is a process and I am still learning how to be the mother that he needs.IMG_7314 copy

IMG_7315 copy 5 Always close at hand. You never know when a na-na moment might arise (another thing I learned in the last two weeks, Duc refers to this as na-na).

3 comments:

Kim September 22, 2009 at 11:27 PM  

Once again, beautiful post, Erica.
Sela does the "get between the cabinets and me" thing when she wants to be held too. They remind me a lot of each other. :) Strong personalities! Unfortunately, she does it when mommy needs to hold her big sister too--if only there could be two of us sometimes, huh? You and he are lucky to have each other--he is such a special little guy.

~ Kristine ~ September 23, 2009 at 1:19 PM  

Erica:

Your posts are great and so insightful. Your photos are incredible. Thanks for sharing the lessons you are learning along the way.

Michele September 24, 2009 at 8:00 AM  

Yes, it takes active concience to stop whatever it is you think you have to do and instead focus on your child. I do that more and more and it really makes a difference. I'm glad you figured this out too.

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About This Blog

This started as my story, but has evolved to OUR story. This is the story of life as a single parent to a wonderful little boy while we wait for baby sister. China LID 2.12.07.


But these things I plan won't happen right away. Slowly, steadily, surely, the time approaches when the vision will be fulfilled. If it seems slow, be patient! For it will surely take place. It will not be late by a single day.
Habakkuk 2:3

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