Five years ago today, you were born- two hours before my first Mother’s Day. You broke my vagina and my breasts still wonder why they now live two feet lower than they used to. It is the best thing that has ever happened to me.
I often look at you and am struck at what an amazing person you are growing into. How could someone who is so young already seem to know more than I do? Then I see you pick your nose again for the tenth time in an hour and I realize we still have a lot of work to do.
Technically, I became a parent the day you were born, but those first few months all I had to do was keep you alive. Peanuts. The hard part came after when I realized that, in addition to figuring out what “baby-led weaning” is, Googling “photos of weird baby rashes” multiple times and agonising over whether giving you milk at 11 months 29 days rather than 12 months would forever compromise your immune system, I also have to “parent” you to become a good human. I’m pretty sure that despite my lack of parenting skills, you will not become a sociopathic killer- that just seems to be setting the bar a little low. I’d like to aim higher.
I’ve tried to teach you to always remember to flush the toilet because no one else wants to see your poo (work in progress) but how do I ensure that you always remember to be kind? Should I do a sticker reward chart for not being an a**hole?
Based on what I’ve seen in the last five years, you are going to be more than fine and probably pretty great. Just in case, I’ve started a list of things that I will try and remember to teach you (hopefully, I might learn some of them too):
Do not kill bugs unnecessarily
Always seek advice before wearing red lipstick out of the house
Never leave a friend alone at a party
A perm is not a good idea
You have a very long time to grow up so don’t rush
Use clippers to cut your toenails, not your teeth
Feed your pets
Your sister will always, always have your back, so you should always, always have hers
High-waisted pants are a very difficult look to pull off
Not everything you think in your head needs to be said out loud
Grandmas are not just for spoiling you
It is not necessary to show your midriff to be stunning (see for example: Taylor Swift)
Read the newspaper (they may not exist in 10 years- if so, read news websites [side note: other than Fox News] on whatever mobile device the kids are into these days)
The list will evolve and I will likely forget some things that you will have to learn on your own, but most importantly, remember this: your mother will always love you in a way that no one else ever can or will, if you are lost, she will always, always find you and when you are away from her, there is never a moment she doesn’t miss you all the way down to her bones.