A year ago on mother’s day, you were leaving Austin for the first time since I’d had my baby.
“How am I going to do this without you?” I asked, tearing up.
“You’ll just know,” you told me.
It was the first day I’d felt somewhat normal following the after birth pain. I held Camilla up to the window, making her tiny hand wave goodbye as I began to cry. There I was, a twenty seven year-old lady with a baby who just needed her mommy.
As much as I wanted you there, I needed you to go, and you knew that. You knew I needed to know that I could do it on my own. You knew we needed time to get used to being a family of three–to find a routine. We needed to bond, to feel the relief of being able to calm her when she cried. I needed to learn that it was okay to fall asleep holding her on my chest. I needed to wake up and feel the relief that she was still sleeping soundly and could sleep soundly for longer stretches when I let her sleep on my chest, comforted by my heartbeat.
Just as I began to turn in to an overwhelmed, sleep deprived, zombie apocalypse version of myself, you came back. You came back the day after the doctor told me Camilla was underweight. I found out she wasn’t getting enough milk. You saw that she was frustrated and I was frustrated. You saw me cringe as you let me know she needed to eat, you saw the pained look on my face. You told me, “you don’t have to do this.” You hugged me as I cried and said, “yes I do.”
A year later, I heard myself telling a friend who recently gave birth you do what’s best for you and your baby and I smiled to myself, hearing your advice come from my lips.
You made Camilla her first bottle as I sat there feeling defeated, like I wasn’t a good enough mom because I couldn’t do this thing that moms were supposed to do. “Breastfeeding is hard,” you told me. I wished you told me earlier but it didn’t matter because I just needed to hear you say it.
I watched you rock my baby to sleep, wishing I had that magic touch. Eventually, I found out I did.
In the mornings, after a long night of on-again-off-again sleep, you would appear in our doorway at 6 AM with groceries and cleaning supplies and take her from my arms, telling me to get some rest.
Each time you left Austin you’d stay away a little longer, letting me try this motherhood thing sans training wheels until eventually, I was riding free, my hair in the wind.
When I heard my husband telling someone that it was amazing, we took to this parenting thing so easy on our own. I couldn’t help but laugh. Camilla is so attached to me, I see how much she wants and needs her mommy. I didn’t truly know what it was to need your mommy until I became one and I needed you.
“You’re a great mom,” you told me recently. It was the first time I truly believed I am. I will always come when she needs me because, I too, am just a daughter who needs her mommy.