Not in a jump out behind the couch and go BLAH way, either.
I mean, they just scare me. Because they seem like they know what they are doing. I, on the other hand, after eight years of practice am pretty much still an abject failure by most people's standards.
Some of my friends have had babies in the past year or so. They can recall in great detail what medications their children take and have taken the entire time they've been alive. They know what time they were born (to the second!) and how much they weighed and all, without having to look. Whereas I am the mom that if the doctor says, "Now, did daughter take medication XYZ?" I get this frightened, deer in the headlight type look and begin to stammer until the doctor says, "Why don't I just look in the chart then?" If people say, "What day were the twins born?" I can tell you that immediately. But if you ask me what time? I was so doped up at that time that I asked the obstetrician to marry me. I can't really recall a whole lot more of it.
Which means, I'm probably a bad mother.
The things I do remember...they are smaller things. I won't ever remember, without looking, the day my son took his first step. I won't ever remember, without looking, when my daughter lost her first tooth. Those things, they matter. But other things have always mattered more.
I remember the first time that my son smiled at me. He was a grouchy little infant, what with the being born way to early and having no fingernails and all. He felt like utter crap for about the first six months of his life and really, you know, how else can a baby tell you how bad they are feeling other than crying? So the first time he looked at me and smiled? My heart melted.
I can tell you how I felt the day that we moved into our new house, just the three of us. I bought that house by scrimping and saving. It was a small townhouse, just two bedrooms, but I was so proud of it. My boyfriend at the time who is now my husband helped me paint the one bedroom that I had for the two children. We painted up the walls six feet, in blue. It looked like ocean waves. We painted a bright yellow sunshine in one corner and put up Spongebob Squarepants vinyl "clings" all over the walls. We had a set of bunkbeds for them to share. The first night, my fearless daughter proclaimed the top bunk hers, joyfully climbed to the top, and immediately fell asleep. My son lay silently in his bed until I came in to talk to him and he talked on and on for twenty-five minutes about dinosaurs and a cartoon he had seen called "Dave the Barbarian". I talked to him until he wasn't afraid...until I wasn't afraid either.
I remember the day that I sat across the dinner table from my little girl and was so overcome with emotion looking at her that I almost began to cry. I could see her as an adult woman, so clearly. She's such an amazing person. I've often said that my daughter is the person I want to be when I grow up. She's never afraid of anything. The only thing, to that point, that had made the child cry was the fact that she was the only girl at the whole daycare who didn't have a daddy. I was so afraid, in that moment, that she would someday make horrible choices because she so desperately wanted a man to love her. She looked up at me and touched my hand and said, "Momma. Don't ever leave me."
I will never forget the day we danced around our living room with the stereo blaring, "I always have to steal my kisses from you!"I will never forget the look on my son's face when he opened up the PlayStation game he most wanted for Christmas. The hurt on my daughter's face when I explained that my father has cancer will be with me forever. I remember the first day of school, the first day of soccer, the first day of Girl Scouts. I remember the pride I felt when my son was the Golden Student, two months in a row. I remember the day I discovered WHY all those mothers scream at the top of their lungs when it's their kid who is running for the goal. It came out of me like something I can't even explain.
I don't remember everything. But I do remember the important things.