Motherhood can feel like a thankless job. You incubate this thing and it makes your belly giant, gives you heartburn and makes you barf all over the place. If you are really lucky, you get to spend ten whole months barfing, silently cursing the bill of goods you were sold on the whole nine months duration. I wanted that month back. That month turned my toes into puffy bloated sausages, at least this is what I hear. I certainly couldn’t see them myself.
And what do you get for your troubles? Hours of excruciating labour (or 45 minutes, if you’re me), followed by a kid that cries.That first cry is so exciting. It’s proof of life. You’re so freaking proud you wanna lift him up all Lion King like but then you remember you have to support his head and you’re exhausted. After that, crying is less exciting and more constant. You might start to wonder, is this kid ever going to say thank y0u? I mean, I provided 10 months of luxury accommodation in the finest amniotic fluid available. That should count for something.
It took some time, but cries turned into words.
Don’t ask me what his first words were, I don’t remember. Worst mom ever, I know.
But now, the words that bring me joy are the words of gratitude. He says thank you a lot. He thanks me for buying him a bed, as if he wouldn’t be removed from my care if I failed to provide a necessity of life. I mean, it’s a cool mattress but I didn’t anticipate the effusive praise for procuring it. He thanks me for making him delicious dinner, butter chicken, from a box! What skill! “Wow, mommy!” I am thanked for feeding him, taking care of him, and buying him clothes. Still, sometimes, I feel insecure.
I wonder how he really feels about me. He’s crafty enough to know compliments can be cashed in for treats and special consideration with respect to bedtime and chores. He’s a suck up, but he’s very convincing. One day, he was really sick and I needed my mom to take care of him so I could get to an important meeting. Apparently, he spent the whole time telling her what a good mom I am and how I take such good care of him. He brags about my writing to his friends and they don’t understand why he thinks it’s so cool. He gets mad, “You work hard on that, mommy!”. He’s grateful for me and the experiences he has with me.
I hear him say thank you and I forget all about the ten months of barfing. I forget the heartburn, giant belly, labour and endless crying. I can’t forget the puffy sausage toes, because they remind me of breakfast and that’s something else I’m thankful for.