My Darling Emily Rose,
(Or should I call you “Peach” like I usually do? Even your grandmothers, brothers, and six-year-old cousins call you that. Maybe we should all face the facts. . . .)
I’m no rookie at this whole mom thing. Not anymore. And you would think by now that I’ve seen it all, and yet you find ways to surprise me. Every day. I wish I could say it was always in a good way. But you’re two-and-three-quarters this month. Need I say more?
Don’t worry. I will say it all anyway, because that’s my way. . . .
In the years since your birth, you’ve matured into a beautiful little girl. As of now, you’re still a blonde. How did THAT happen? You hair is pin straight as well and what’s cute, you twirl it in the back when you’re thinking or distracted by something. My hair–a wavy, deep brown, slightly auburn–is the lightest and “straightest” in my Irish/Italian family. Your father–a medium ash brown–facetiously blames the Swedish milkman (Hmmm. . . ? Nope, couldn’t have been. I would have remembered.). But he has more blonde relatives than I do. And what about your blue eyes, the ones you use to manipulate everyone with? Those I take credit for.
You’re welcome. :)
And, Little Peach, it’s amazing how much you’ve grown. No, really. It’s amazing! Because you eat nothing. You’re doing fine, but even so. There are one year olds out there who look like they could swallow you whole. So could you do us both a favor and broaden your palate beyond bread and cheese? Someday? Please? Great. Thanks. (You’ve inherited your dietary habits from your father, too, by the way. I wasn’t nearly so picky.)
Okay, now it’s time to get serious (because I’m a serious writer now and I do this for a meager living). So where would you like me to restart your story, Emily Rose? Should I tell you how much we’ve both changed in three years? Share what we’ve done? And where we’ve been?
Throughout my life, my dear, I’ve tried my hand in many places–cities, small towns, and even smaller towns, and now we’re officially living in the suburbs. And it’s all right, I guess. I’ll compare it to beige wallpaper–hard to get jazzed up about it, but after a while, you get kind of used to it. It makes things easy and fades into the background, allowing you to focus on other things.
Sure, we don’t have breathtaking mountain views anymore and we can’t stroll off the front steps and get spicy Thai food ten feet away, but our grass is green(ish)–though keeping it that way costs a pretty penny and is treated in our area like a competitive sport–and there is a Target, a Home Depot, a Panera, etc. a five minute minivan or SUV drive away (since we’re totally hip, we’ve opted for the latter).
And people are “nice” here. Kids come over and shoot hoops with your brothers. They don’t need permission or an invitation. Cars drive around meticulously slow, and if they don’t, we have a neighbor who yells at them (God, I love New York! And missed it all those years away!). Otherwise, neighbors chat with each other about their jobs, their kids’ accomplishments, or the weather. Why, just the other day, one of the neighborhood’s most sought-after mommies (her family’s grass is REALLY green) powerwalked by and we had at least a thirty second conversation about whether the good weather (like how I made that distinction?) would hold. For me? The perpetually misplaced lone-wolf introvert? That ain’t half bad! But after that, she strutted on and didn’t look back. She likely had “grass” to tend to and I was left wondering why I couldn’t make myself care about the green stuff, hers or anyone else’s.
At times like these, I’m forced to come to the same conclusion; there may not be a right “fit” for me, not here or anywhere, or with any particular social group. I don’t like isolation or crowds, and I can’t find my place among the hardcore smarties, the disgruntled lefties, the overachieving mommies, the hungry go-getters, the free spirits, or the godly.
There’s no such thing as Utopia, Emily Rose, especially when you consider the needs of every individual in this family. Like your father, for example, needs constant motion, an adventure, a challenge, a goal to achieve every day. He sits still about as well as I adjust to unfamiliar surroundings. In other words, not well. Because I need peace, stability, warmth, and good conversation. And your brothers need fun, freedom to be who they are, and plenty of other kids to rabble-rouse with in a parent sanctioned sort of way.
So we did the best we could. We tried to establish roots between the tufts of grass we inherited from our lawn lackadaisical predecessors (he was more into flashy cars and his “man cave” than that gosh darn grass!). And I hope you like it here, Little Peach. I think you will. If you don’t over-contemplate your existence, what’s not to like? You have your own room with your Disney Princess bed and you can toddle around your quaint little piece of America, and I don’t have to worry too much about you, even if you accidentally stumble into the road (thanks to resident-only traffic and our New York loudmouth street-vigilante neighbor). And you’ll have your mother home with you for the foreseeable future. That’s a good thing. We’ve both realized the hard way that there are no substitutes. I’m flattered . . . really. But could you cut Grandma some slack every once in a while? Your tantrums, though rare, are truly legendary and usually have something to do with “unjust” abandonment. Your very best work is usually performed for crowds in public places where those highly effective “time outs” aren’t even an option.
I love you, Emily Rose, and I genuinely enjoy snuggling away the day with you–in between “pee-pee in the potty” breaks every ten minutes, snack attacks, and beverage runs–but I do occasionally need to go the dentist or spend some time alone with your father. It keeps him happy. And since he funds this mommy-and-me endeavor by an insurmountable margin, you should really do your best to share me once in a great while. I know I’m asking a lot. From day one, you thought I was yours and yours alone. At the same time, I’m aware this attachment won’t last forever. Someday, when I’m not ready for it, you’ll stretch too far and break away. And I will miss you when you’re gone. For now, though, I’ll take all the “big smooshy hugs” and “mommy hold me’s” I can get . . . while they last. . . .
So, for this Mother’s Day, Emily Rose, I’d like to thank you for making me a mother a third (and final) time. Thanks for the life experience I wouldn’t have gotten with another boy. I now know how to trim bangs, put on little girl swimsuits with confusing criss-cross straps, and I understand better than ever that tears sometimes have nothing to do with physical pain. I appreciate the earlier-than-three potty training and the pleasant manners–the sweet “thank-yous,” “you’re welcomes,” and the situation appropriate “sorry mommies.” Catastrophes large or small, it’s hard to get too upset with you when you play on my weaknesses like that! Best of all, Little Peach, thanks for giving me a sense direction. I may be lost in other ways, but I’m certainly meant to be with you.
With much, much love,
Read it again or for the first time on
http://nesmalltownparenting.blogspot.com or Wattpad:
http://nesmalltownparenting.blogspot.com or Wattpad:
Emily Rose: A Pregnancy Story