The terror did not actually strike me immediately. Immediately I was too moon-eyed and sleep-deprived to know what was going on. But slowly, as each day folded back onto itself, as Willow and I both fumbled through our still-awkward dance of deciphering our respective rhythms, I realized that something has fled.
This is Offbeat Families's archive of Identity posts.
Explorations of how our pre-baby identities shift and morph and blend into our post-baby realities.
Last weekend I watched my nine-year-old daughter Francesca swim in the Hudson River with my mother. This would not have been a remarkable event if I had ever gone swimming with my mother as a child. Or listened to her read bedtime stories or felt her lips on my cheek or watched her eyes widen in delight as I presented her with a hand-made Mother's Day card. I didn't do any of these things with my mother because I didn't meet her until I was a junior in college.
My husband and I were THOSE super-liberal kids: we brazenly (and somewhat immaturely) ranted and raved about The State of The World, felt smug about the fact that we only watched independent media, and derided anyone who didn't agree that of course social programs should be available for anyone who needs them, and of course the food we eat is loaded up with a thousand things that are killing us, and of course we were right. About everything.
A few weeks ago we were introduced to a really cool project called We Are the Face of Equality. The video-based project was started by Stephanie, a twenty-five-year-old lesbian in Indiana. Her goal is to collect videos and photos of LGBT people around the world and compile them into one slideshow and/or book. I asked her a few questions about the project, so get ready to read those and find out how you can participate.
So what exactly are the highs and lows of combining an obsession for kicks with the responsibilities of parenthood? One of the sweetest highlights is sharing a passion with your kids. As Annie explains it, "It's great to see my girls find their own love and joy for sneakers. Their reactions to new sneakers are really the true embodiment of how happy I feel with a dope pair of sneakers, and they don't hold back!"
Sometime in 8th grade I went to the store with my mom and my youngest sister, AJ. I remember people watching the three of us walking through the store with quizzical looks. They would look first at my mom, then to me, then to AJ, then back to me. Finally, as we made our way through the checkout, the cashier looked at me and said "Your daughter is so cute," then back to my mother and finished "You are a lucky grandma!" I stared, my 14-year-old self feeling completely embarrassed and horrified, as my mom calmly answered, "Actually, I'm the mom. They are both mine."
Apparently the need to rename your child is called "baby-name remorse." Considerably more common than one suspects. I came upon a few stories on the internet about baby-name remorse and even a few personal stories by parents who went through with the out of the box renaming of their child.
I just held out the test going, “OhmygodLOOKohmygodLOOK” at which point we both burst into tears. He hugged me tightly and said, “Congratulations, Mama!” Mama? No. Call me anything, I thought, but not mama.