With John’s birthday approaching, it’s time for the annual Anniversary of My Motherhood post, which – as usual – made me roll my eyes at myself because I turn everything into something about me. Though, I dare any of you to try to write a blog post a couple times a week about anything other than yourself or your view on something outside of yourself or how you feel about that thing or how it makes you feel. Etcetera. It kind of goes with the territory.
I have a digital post-it on the dashboard of my computer and whenever I think of an interesting topic for a blog, I stick it there. I hardly ever use them, of course. My blogging M.O. is very in-the-moment; it sort of has to be a fresh idea for me to be able to go with it. One of the topics on my list for several months now says this: John is big.
And I guess I was going to wax poetic about what it’s like to look sideways at instead of down to your firstborn. And I’m pretty sure I would have talked about the times when it seems completely absurd to have a child a few years older than I vividly remember being – like apparently-there-really-are-time-machines-and-I’ve-gone-forward-in-one – that absurd.
But instead I’m thinking about how often he sides with his dad now about what to watch on television, when to eat (seriously? You don’t want anything until after practice?), whether I’m funny on purpose or on accident, and how nice it is to be in the woods any time you’re not on a football field. You can kind of see what I mean in this photo. He doesn’t so much look at me like that. He looks at me now much more as something to care for than something to be cared for by.
And then there’s football. He’s pretty good. He’s one of the quarterbacks for his fifth grade team, and people say – you know – good things. Some of the points on the board are because he passed the ball or caught the ball or ran with it. That kind of good. And the first practice that Michael came home from, glowing, and cautiously, quietly indicating that John could play, and like, really play, I was struck by the fact that there was absolutely nothing in a million trillion years that I had done to produce that or that I could do now to make it grow. I haven’t felt that proud of him and yet that disconnected from him since the hours after his birth when I felt that he was totally cool but couldn’t possibly actually have come from me.
And all this comes even more back to me, because this is true of all of us with anything we want in life. No one can accomplish it but us. It doesn’t matter how well my mom writes or how often she tells the world of my inhuman talent and wonder. She can’t actually accomplish anything for me as far as becoming an even better human, a more giving one, or one who’s realized her dreams. No matter how awesome my agent is, she’s not going to write the books for me. And despite his own plans, his good advice, and his personal experience, Michael can’t actually put me in a fulfilling career or anything like it. Who I become in this life is completely. on. me.
It sounds so depressing! But the first time I realized this, it wasn’t depressing at all. It was freeing. Because if no one can make it happen but me, then really I’m the only one who can truly hold me back.