Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Sorry I'm So Psycho

Dear Megan,

Today you are six! I say this with excitement, but also with disbelief. I understand that another year has gone by. I can see the events and milestones in my head. So I know how you got here. But I still remember the day you were born like it were yesterday. I still gather you up every so often and sigh. I see your longs legs dangle down almost to the floor and a flash of how you used fit just so in the crook of my arm takes me off guard.

"Who are you?" I ask.
"What have you done with my baby Megan?"
"Mom!" you groan, rolling your eyes and pushing up off my lap and out of my arms.

Those rolling eyes of yours. That exasperated tone in your voice. Those are new this past year. All of a sudden it has hit me, our dynamic has changed. Me and You. Mom and Daughter. I know you still think I hung the moon. I've got a little more time before that runs out. But I can see now, that you also think I'm a little bit crazy.

Growing up, I often thought my Mother was crazy too. She couldn't fall asleep until we were all home and tucked in. She insisted we eat breakfast before we left the house. She kept a box on the top shelf of her medicine cabinet full of tiny teeth. She'd turn off the TV and tell us "only boring people get bored - go play." She never let me watch Gremlins or Friday the 13th. Only after she saw it first, and a discussion was had on abortion, did Dirty Dancing get okay'd.

I can remember things my Mother said that left me contemplating her grasp on reality. Things like "Be sure you're wearing clean underwear before leaving the house!" or "This hurts me more than it hurts you!" or "If you don't practice good manners at home, how will you know how to act when you grow up and go on a date?" or "Nothing good happens after midnight." or (my all time favorite) "I'd rather you rub dog crap on your face than smoke cigarettes." WHAT?! Only a bonafide cuckoo could say such things with absolute sincerity.

As a teen, I can remember using the words irrational, invasive, unstable, delusional, and paranoid to describe her actions. She found my diary and read it...and saw nothing wrong with that! She made it a point to know my friends (and their parents) very well. She never once budged on curfew...not even for my Senior dance. She made boys come inside and sit down before we left on a date. Anyone who called after 9PM, was politely informed of their rudeness and hung up on. She actually verified the information I gave her about my whereabouts. And once, just to bust me in what she knew was a lie, drove to a party in her bathrobe and slippers and broke it up!

I can even remember considering my Mother had multiple personalities. She was, after all, the first to point out my faults, but also the first to champion my defense. She would ground me for a week and send me fuming to my room. An hour later she'd knock on my door and invite me to frozen yogurt and pedicures. When I asked for things like a car, a phone line, or an international Senior trip, she'd rant and rave about counting blessings and insatiability. A day later she'd be making it happen, and often bigger and better than I had hoped for. What sane person acts like this? Whose team was she on, anyhow?

Yes, Megan. For a long time I was convinced my Mother was completely off her rocker. I didn't know why or how she got this way. I just knew I would NEVER be like her!

Then, six years ago today (I can tell you precisely it was at 10:26am) my Mother ceased being crazy.

Six years ago today, every annoying, invasive, embarrassing, off the wall, delusional thing she ever did finally made sense. Perfect, simple, beautiful, overwhelmingly obvious sense.

Because Six years ago today, I became a mother. And at 10:26am the doctor set you in my arms.

One look in your eyes and I realized my poor Mother never had a chance. It wasn't that she was crazy, she just couldn't help herself. All bets were off when it came to the love of a Mother. One grasp of your teeny tiny fingers and I felt just how big my love could be and yet still feel too small at the same time.

It was the singular most exhilarating and terrifying feeling all at once.

Six years later, I still get that feeling every once in awhile and it takes my breath away. Literally.

It usually happens when you are performing the most mundane of tasks. I look over at you and realize, in your own, quiet, graceful way - you embody every single beautiful hope I have ever held. For me. For you. For this world. A lump catches in my throat and I bite my lip in order not to tear up. You look at me, oblivious to my epiphany, smile innocently and go on.

I'm left with the weight of my awareness in that moment. I'm crazy in love with you. The lengths I will go to to ensure your health and happiness are boundless. Nothing else matters much if I fail at this. Being your Mother. Bringing you up. Of all the balls I try to juggle, this is the one I can not drop. I'm further weighed down knowing, not only am I comically under qualified for this job, I am also handicapped with emotion. Love clouds my every move, my every word, my every thought when it comes to you.

In the six years I've been playing this game, I've come to know this weight is really just my desire to give you my best. Wanting to step up to this plate called Motherhood and hit a Grand Slam (perhaps in my case, I could only hit a triple!) What I have also come to know however, is to let that weight go. To keep the expectations I have for myself as a mother in check. To continually re-evaluate (and lower) the bar I measure myself by. An awesome batting average is somewhere in the vicinity of .400, right? That means 6 out of 10 times a trained, naturally talented, paid PROFESSIONAL totally misses the ball! In the past six years, I've come to know that even at my best, I'm going to strike out some of the time. And that's just fine.

I can admit, I've made mistakes. You rolled off the bed more than once. As an infant, I put you to sleep atop a feather pillow. You didn't get your 18 month immunizations until you were almost 2. Once I let you sit on the ironing board when I was ironing...you can guess what happened. I've been late to preschool pick-up, leaving you to be the last, lonely, forlorn kid in class. There have been tantrums and time outs, punishments and potty mouths (mostly mine, not yours!) I let you watch SpongeBob even after I heard him call Squidworth "Buttface" and you giggle. I fed you donuts from the drive thru for breakfast because I blogged instead of scrambling an egg. Can you remember the last time you washed your hair? Neither can I. You hate doing it, and I don't make you. I have been making you finish your milk the past 6 months despite your complaints. Last week we learned you're Lactose intolerant. Ugh. Loser Mom.

So, Megan my love, I'm here to apologize in advance for all the strike outs I'm going to make as your Mother. There are sure to be many more to come. And I'm here to apologize in advance for all the crazy things I am going to do. I'm going to hover, interject, snoop, persuade, guilt, worry, pester, and be all together over the top emotional in regards to any major infraction or minor milestone you complete (I have a great example to follow, remember? You know her. Her name is Grammie.)

My hope is one day you'll understand everything I do is fueled by my HUGE love for you and my HUGE desire to give you the best (and the knowledge I'm under qualified and handicapped and must make up for that somehow!) My hope is one day you'll see that amidst all my mistakes and craziness, is a woman who can't help herself. A woman who, despite feeling like she was born to do this, still has to second guess, learn as she goes, and wing it with little success. A woman who is so invested in your life, your happiness, and your dreams, that she sometimes loses herself. A woman who, by becoming a Mother, found herself (and discovered she was a lunatic...just EXACTLY like her Mother!)

Happiest of Birthdays my Megan Juhl. My biggest wish came true the day you were born. Thank you for loving me, making me laugh every day, giving me purpose, focusing my perspective, and putting up with my photo sessions. Thank you for making my life more beautiful, more happy, and more FUN! Most of all, thank you for being my daily reminder that being crazy and messing up is exactly what I am supposed to be doing!

Your Psycho Mommy

PS - I can't wait till September 23rd!! Can you? We are going to have so much fun. It's hard to tell who's more excited. I think it's you.

But if a certain JB shows up to sing a duet...it will for sure be me!


LauraC said...

Seriously Erin, hands down the best thing you have ever written. This one came straight from the heart and I loved every single word.

mel said...

That was beautiful & brought tears to my eyes as I read it! Happy Birthday to your sweet Megan!

Cara said...

Gorgeous, Erin. You've given this pregnant lady an actual good reason to cry a little! Those babies are so lucky to have you.

Ashley said...

This is beautiful. I feel the exact same way!

Brooke said...

Beautifully written! I love your way with words. I have tears and goose bumps! Megan is a lucky girl!

Polka Dot Moon said...

That was beautifully written and I do have a big lump in my throat!

mysteryhistorymom said...

Happy Birthday Megan! You have a wonderful Mommy who loves you very much.:) Lori

~love said...

i started this 2 different times, but knew in the place that i was, i couldn't finish it without totally having tears streaming down my face.
love your mom.
love your psycho self.
love megan.
love this letter.

{HOW much fun....oh, my girls would be in.heaven.}

Tonya said...


love this. so much. i so needed to read it this morning. thank you...

you are a beautiful mother...



Anonymous said...

You said everything I believe about being a Mom so perfectly. Hugs to you,

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