I am a control freak. I soften the truth by saying I am a planner. And in a manner of speaking I am. Just on steroids. It is my coping mechanism. Spoiler Alert- It does not work. But it makes me feel protected. If I can control all of the aspects of my life, if I can keep all of the plates spinning, I don’t have to be vulnerable. I don’t have to allow my feelings to show or get hurt. If I manage the details, I can manage myself. I can keep from feeling inadequate or broken or weak. In theory, this makes sense in my head. If I cause pain to myself from not saying anything, that is more bearable then putting my needs out into the world and allowing someone else to hurt me. I can calculate my own pain. It is pain I can anticipate. As I write this, I realize how unhealthy that sounds. This isn’t the example I want to set for Moose.
I began to realize how little control I actually have when I was pregnant with Moose. I couldn’t plan for how my body was going to respond. I couldn’t plan for how I was going to feel. And as time marched toward his birth, I realized I couldn’t even plan for how this little man was going to greet the world. These were my first lessons in letting go. I have had more since then. And I foresee a million more throughout the course of his life. I have new lessons each day. Lessons in being a single mom. Lessons when I can’t control perceptions of things on social media. Lessons when I bite my tongue. Lessons when I can’t manage the details of his life when he isn’t with me. Lessons when he is teething or grumpy. Lessons when I look at my house.
My house is a mess. It is clean, but it is a mess. On my weekends without the kiddo I sweep, mop, and vacuum. I scrub the bathroom and make sure the kitchen is sanitized. These are requirements when you have a little person that shows no aversion to eating food directly from the floor. But the laundry piles up and his toys are everywhere. I mean everywhere. There isn’t a room in my home that isn’t peppered with a stray onesie, a sippy cup, or an avalanche of toys. There is no doubt that I am a mother when you walk into our home. As much as I wish I could keep a tidy home- and not step on painful plastic toys after he has drifted off into his dreams- I wouldn’t have it any other way. I make a choice every day. I choose to live in the disorder. I choose to follow him from toy to toy and see the wonder in his eyes. I choose to bathe in his giggle. I choose to let my adult insecurities fade for a moment and see the world through his eyes. I choose to bang on a piano or smell his hair when he wants to sit in my lap. I choose childish wonder and laughter that erupts from my deepest core. I choose the mayhem. Because one day I will have a spotless house again. One day I will be doing dishes for one instead of two. One day I will sit in my living room and relax after a long day by myself, but I will have these memories to warm my heart. I will never look back and wish that I had done more laundry or made sure that his toys made it back into the basket each night. I will remember the cackles that burst from his tiny body when I tickled him. The hugs he gives me without provocation- even if they do result in me being covered in food. I will remember that my happiest place on earth will always be my messy house with this little man. My cup runneth over in a way that I could never have anticipated. I am so thankful for this gift I never thought I would receive, even if it came with poopy diapers, tantrums, and a house that looks like a bomb went off.
I am the mother. I anticipated that I would be the one imparting wisdom and teaching lessons. But in reality, I am the student. I am the one learning by leaps and bounds. I am learning how to let go. I am learning where my priorities lie. I am learning that sometimes the chaos is where creativity and life are born. I have learned that the hard things, the scary things, can be the most rewarding. I am learning quiet, patient, joy. I am learning that the mess doesn’t matter,the life lived does.