Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Who is Raising Whom?

I've always been a bit of an "indoor" kind of girl. Don't get me wrong . . . I'm not exactly a "girly girl," (although sometimes I wish I were one . . . I'd probably look a lot better!) but when you are allergic to every plant in the grass family and most weeds and you have asthma, well, the great outdoors is not exactly your playground. (Not that the indoors is that much better for me. I am also allergic to dust mites and most household molds. I'm on allergy shots that have made life a little better.) However, becoming a mom has taught me that I am not now the person I was before I had my son.

Just because I have spent 99% of my life being an "indoor" girl, it does not mean that I am an "indoor" mom. I have a son who is enthralled with the world and who am I to impede the love affair? It is with this new found sense of self-explorative adventure that I found myself buying a pair of rain boots for my birthday this year (I discovered quickly that even though my son owned frog rain boots, it did nothing to keep the puddle water from splashing me when we went outside!) To my great surprise, it turns out that I am an excellent puddle stomper. I might even be able to go pro, if a pro-circuit for puddle stomping actually existed. I find that I don't even mind the way that some mud gets inevitably splashed on our clothes. My son's giggles are more than enough and if my pants get permanently stained . . . well, pants can be replaced at a later date. Joy is only found in the moment.

Before my son was born, I had a pretty good idea of who I was and of what I am capable. After meeting my son (and the challenges I have encountered by being his mom), I have learned that my view of myself was far too limiting. Recently, I was talking to some friends about this and I came to the realization that being a mom hasn't really changed me so much as it has stripped me of my illusions I had of who I was. What I never realized until my son came along was that the idea I had of myself in my head was not an accurate picture of who I could be. Being a mom has stripped me of those pretensions and has made me vulnerable in a way that I never could have imagined, however, once stripped of them, I realize that I am stronger without them.

I thought that I could never follow a strict diet, but my little love and his food allergies have taught me that I can if it means the health of someone I love. I thought I hated sleeping with anyone touching me (my husband and I always had a strict snuggle and then retreat to opposite corners of the bed policy for sleeping), but now I sleep a good portion or every night with my arm around a toddler wedged right beside me (half the time, he even puts his hands in my face as he sleeps), and I sleep just fine! I thought I would never be able to write a blog. Now, I write three or more times a month (and people who don't share genes with me actually read it sometimes!) Basically, I've come to believe that I was in my head more than I was in the moment. My darling boy has changed that for me.

And so, I find myself actually looking forward to rainy days (of which there have been plenty this spring or "mud season" as it is called here in Vermont). I look forward to feeling a soft little hand in mine as we head out after nap time to find the perfect puddles for splashing (deep enough to give us a satisfied "thunk" as we stomp or booted feet in them, but shallow enough that my toddler won't lose his balance and fall in the cold water). While others complain about the rain, I think of all the indents and potholes in our parking lot that will soon become pristine afternoon puddles teeming with little bugs we can observe once the splashing has rippled away and worms that wriggle beautifully on the pavement as we carefully step around them. It turns out that, sometimes, I can be an "outside" kind of girl. My son taught me that. Who says that we raise kids? I rather think that my son is raising me!

(Here's a video of our first puddle stomping adventure . . .pre-rainboots! You can tell that I was still timid here!)



Becky said... [Reply to comment]

I feel the same way! I am also an indoor-girl, but my 1-1/2 year old is quickly bringing me outdoors. I can predict that she will challenge me to exit my comfort zone continually as she grows up.

Shawna said... [Reply to comment]

@Becky Aren't kids wonderful that way?

Post a Comment