Thirty Days of Caemon–Day 19: Not My Mom

From Jodi.

I always knew I wanted to be a mother, but for whatever reason, I never envisioned myself actually giving birth. I assumed I would adopt, and that plan pleased me. Not long after Timaree and I moved in together, we determined that she would eventually get pregnant and have a baby who we would co-parent. Later—maybe—we would adopt a second or third child. Either way, I would have to find a suitable identity as the non-gestational mother.

Timaree oozes maternal instinct, perhaps because she is the eldest sister, or because her mother and grandmother were such important early role models, but I have long identified her with the mother goddess archetype. It’s as though she has always been a mother, and for those of you who have seen her in action, there is no doubt that she is a phenomenal mother.

But what about me? I had no such role models. In truth, my own mother had taught me to be angry, to drink, and to hate myself. That’s about it. I had no idea what kind of mom I would be, but I knew that I DID NOT want to be her. Deep down, though, I was afraid that she was inside of me and would rear her ugly head around my son, a terrifying thought.

I looked to my wife for answers and guidance. She knew a lot about babies and had that innate ability to soothe, but we were not the same person. I couldn’t do everything like her, nor did I want to. How to differentiate?

Well, Caemon would see to all of that. More than my skillful wife even, Caemon would teach me how to be a mother; he would inspire me to be my best self and always keep trying; my love for him would grow and stretch me in the most beautiful ways. I wasn’t so angry anymore, and I could deal with his tantrums. In his three and a half years on this earth, I would never hit him or hurt him physically. I would never say ugly things to him or humiliate him; I would pay attention to him, play with him, set appropriate boundaries, listen, and validate his ideas. These were not difficult tasks, by the way. He showed me what he needed, and I complied. Because of him, I figured out how to be a little more patient, silly, and demonstrative. I loved being his mama, and he loved being my son.

I couldn’t imagine a better teacher than Caemon. In this way, his legacy is to his siblings, those who he won’t meet but who will certainly benefit from the training Caemon put me through. Thank you, my boy, for showing me how to be a Mama and loving the one I became.

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