One evening I was playing (or distracting) my daughter before bedtime- it’s such a fun game we play. I was lying down and bouncing her on my belly and I was staring up at her and all of the sudden she just looked so big. Not physically but symbolically. Becoming a mother is full of so many different emotions and feelings and plenty of moments where I’m awestruck that this tiny human grew inside my body but I don’t often reflect on what it all means to be a mother and a parent. It means there’s a daily sacrifice for the rest of my life where I will put her needs first.
I’ve never been much of a vocal feminist but I love the opportunity to show Elle how strong people can be and that she gets to grow up in our country where things are more equal then they have been before.
I know she is already bigger than me because I can see it in her hopeful eyes. So much promise and so much potential. There is so much ahead of her and so much to learn. There are chances for her to succeed and fail and when you become a parent you do so for many reasons. I think one of the largest reasons Will and I wanted to become parents was to have a big, close family surrounding us. Now that Elle is here I truly see it as so much more. Becoming a parent is about giving our daughter the opportunity to be an amazing human. To teach her what we know (and try and teach her things we wish we knew) and allow her to make her own well informed decisions (of course for right now, I make her well informed decisions for her – like her favorite color – purple – HA!) But it’s not only an opportunity to create a legacy, that’s true, but it’s the opportunity to put a human into this world who will one day do great things and be more than Will and I ever will be or are. That is what I want for her.
At times I look at the state of the world and mostly our country and fear for her as she starts to get older. Being exposed to so much more then we were as kids but with that exposure comes a lot of opportunities we never had. I feel like i’m aging myself by saying she’ll have opportunities we never had, but isn’t it the truth?
Right now I watch her trying to crawl, rocking back and forth on her knees for 20-30 second sprints and I’m excited but I also got sad. This is the first big milestone to truly mark the beginning of her independence which is a beautiful and tragic thing for me. It means she will be able to explore her curiosities at her own behest and she will not need me as much as she once did and it will only continue to evolve from here.
I didn’t fully understand what the gravity of what being a mother meant but it means everything that she was given to me. That I have the opportunity to be her mother and guide her through and keep her safe.
I was inspired to write the post because when I got thinking about how Elle is “bigger” than me I thought about the speech one of our dear friends made at my Father’s Celebration of Life nearly two years ago. He said when he met him (I think it was at our wedding) that he could instantly tell he was bigger than the wheelchair he was in. Though he was physically bigger than the wheelchair (6’5” in his prime) he meant symbolically. He gave a beautiful toast about him only having met him a handful of times. I wish I could remember the specifics but I will never forget the message, “He was bigger than his chair”. This stood for so much and was such a beautiful way to remember my father.
This time of year is particularly emotional for me because two years ago I lost my Dad. It was not sudden or unexpected but still a huge loss in my life. It changed the whole landscape of my future. He struggled for a while with illness and we will never know what ended his time here on earth but I do know he was finally given the peace he needed. My Dad was very much a people person, very social, goofy and quite profane at times (sounds like someone else I know?) So I knew that when his health started to decline and he became housebound and then nursing home bound it was incredibly difficult for him to be alone.
As I come back to the present moment where my daughter is on my stomach and I think about how she looks so much bigger, I’m comforted by the fact that my Dad lives on through Elle. Everyday I get this amazing opportunity it be her mother and I wouldn’t have this opportunity without the love from my parents (and husband of course!). This time last year I was feeling so emotional mourning the loss of my dad only a year prior but this year it felt a little easier knowing that we brought this beautiful baby girl into the world. I like to think my Dad got to meet Elle before I did and that he had a hand in making her who she is.
Thanks for reading,