For date night tonight we watched We Bought a Zoo. I loved it! It was so cute! However, it led to several different emotional realizations 1. Desire: I really do want to buy a zoo. It has been my biggest dream since childhood and they made it seem doable which is dangerous. 2. Betrayal: They led me to believe that the zoo this movie is based on is in California. I looked it up feeling so excited that our living in California is going to get us some serious perks, only to have the rug completely pulled out from under me when I found out that the zoo is in England and there is no chance I can patronize it. And 3 (which is why I am writing). Panic: There's a scene when Matt Damon, (of whom Vince asked "Is he hot?" to which I responded "Matt Damon?! Are you seriously asking that question?" He knows better now), is looking at pictures of his dead wife and the memories come alive and he watches his wife and kids run around as if he's really there. At this point in the movie I moved from small empathic tears for a (somewhat) fictional character to bawling my eyes out like some kind of crazy person because it made me realize one of my biggest fears that has cropped up since becoming a mother, which is what this whole post is about.
I am scared to death of forgetting what it's like to be a mom to my baby. I know I will always be her mom and I know she'll grow up and things will change and a lot of things will even be better. But it is this very particular time of life that has been my goal for so long. Being a stay-at-home mom with my one baby. Just her and me all day long. It's exactly what I wanted and it's exactly what I have. But now I'm scared that it's such a fleeting period of time that it's going to go away in the blink of an eye and I'll miss it and won't be able to remember a thing. That's why I take so many pictures. That's why I use Facebook as my journal to document everything she's doing. That's why I worry that those things won't be enough. I don't trust my own memory to keep track of all these things for me. I know when Eleanor is grown up and changed that I won't have her little two-toothed face to hold in my hands and giggle at me. She's going to change and get old and one day she'll say she hates me and I'll know that she's exaggerating and she'll get over it and that I'll think of these days and wish I could remember more. Since I found out I was having a girl I've been afraid of that day. Probably because I was a girl and I know what it's like being a teenager. I'm sure a lot of this stems from my "mommy issues" too, but that's a different story. I know I can try harder to get more pictures, make more journal entries, get more moments on video, but even with all of that it's just trying to catch moonbeams in a jar and I'll never be able to capture the entire experience to keep with me forever. I guess I'll just have to trust my memory for this lifetime and wait for the next life when we have a perfect remembrance of things so I can enjoy this time again. Until then, I'll just make the most of what I have right now and live by one of my favorite (and becoming more and more favorite) quotes:
"Don't cry because it's over, smile because it happened." - Dr. Seuss
Even though I'm crying now, when I wake up tomorrow it will all seem like silly nonsense and I'll just keep living my days as normal and trying to be a good mom and taking lots of pictures. But these realizations will come again and I think a lot of parents probably have similar thoughts (at least I hope I'm not the only emotionally unstable one) so it feels good to get these feelings out and documented. This is part of the parenthood experience, too, after all. So there's my rant. I hope some of you have learned or remembered something about the burden of motherhood. I love it so much.