When I was a kid, my parents were superheroes. They could do no wrong because they were Mom and Dad. They had obviously been granted special wisdom that came with birthing a child, and they were 100 times better at everything than any other mom or dad. I was at a particularly late stage of my childhood when I realized that my parents weren’t immortal; they were just normal people. They’re great people, don’t get me wrong…but they’re people with flaws and quirks just like anyone else. How did they know how to be a superhero mom and dad?
Leon made it four months and one week without getting sick. Minh is also sick, so I worked from home today and attempted to design and export no fewer than six projects throughout the day while bouncing a chattering, coughing baby on my knee. He was so smiley and calm that I almost forget he was sick until he stopped babbling just long enough to hack up a lung. It was a horrible wet cough, but then he just went back to playing with my face and cooing to himself.
As I patted his back and shushed him during a particularly intense coughing fit, I realized that I was actively being a mom. I had no training or experience, yet I was doing exactly what my child needed in order to be comforted. Had you asked me yesterday how to soothe a baby who was hacking his brains out, I would have stammered like an idiot…but somehow I just kind of figured it out. And whatever I was doing worked.
Leon doesn’t understand why his throat hurts and his nose is runny, but he clings to me to make him feel better. When he wakes up in the middle of the night (mostly during this #$!@ing sleep regression), it’s me he cries for. When he’s hungry, it’s my milk that fills his belly. (Not to imply that Minh isn’t amazing too — my point is that Leon’s already learned to turn to us for completely different things. For example, I am not the funny one.)
I never really felt like I completely knew what I was doing — and I still don’t, and I probably never will — but today as I rocked my sniffling baby boy, I felt a sense of peace…like I was at least doing what he needed right then.
Happy Mother’s Day to all the superhero moms.