This Thursday marks a very special day. A day that seemed so distant at one time and is now suddenly right here in front of my face. Mario will be 10 years old. Which means, I have survived 10 years of motherhood. We will talk more about Mario later this week. Right now, I am going to take a moment and reflect on the fact that I have managed to keep three Goombas, one marriage, and a few straggling threads of my sanity alive for 10 years.
I remember, oh so long ago, in the hospital when I was packing my bags to bring our first baby home. I was crying because I was hormonal and, oh yeah... because I had absolutely NO clue what to do with this adorable little creature that was suddenly mine to take care of. The Zaz and the Pop were waiting at home for us with pizza and beer. Bowser was getting the carseat strapped in just right. I was pacing the floor of my hospital room, desperately trying to figure out a way to get the nurses to let me stay forever. Or at least convince one of them to come home and live with us. I actually grabbed the nurse's hand at one point and told her, through many tears and sobs, that I didn't know what to do with a baby and they really probably shouldn't let me take him home because I was sure to ruin his precious little life. She smiled kindly, gave me a small hug and said, "You will know what to do, and you will be a good mom." Then she wheeled me out the doors and closed the car door and left our little family of 3 alone to fend for ourselves.
You will be happy to know that I have come a long way from that terrified new mother in that hospital room. I still have my moments, for sure. But, Mario is still alive, and even thriving, after ten years, so, I mean, I must be doing something right. Right?!?!?!
Here are some major advances/changes I have made in the past decade:
~When Mario was that tiny little bundle of joy, I made everyone, and I mean EVERYONE who came within a 20 yard radius of him douse themselves with hand sanitizer. No germs on my baby! When Luigi came along, if I remembered it, I would ask that they please use a little, just to humor me. By the time Peach was born, I pretty much figured that no one had arsenic on their hands, so meh, whatever. A few germs never hurt anyone. How else are they supposed to build up their immune systems?
~When Mario was old enough to start eating food, I followed what the pediatrician said to a "T." Mix the rice cereal with formula and make it runny first. Then gradually make it thicker. Then veggies first (no fruit or they won't eat anything else!), then meats, then fruits. Cut everything up into microscopic pieces so he can't choke on it. No peanut butter or anything else that might cause any type of allergic reaction. Nothing with sugar, because we all know what that can do to a baby! (I still don't really know, but if it was in a book, it must be true!) Now... Well, let's just say that the day I caught Luigi and Peach snacking on cat food, I didn't freak out too much. I mean, that has to have some nutrition in it, right? Yes, of course I made them stop eating it, but had it been earlier in my mothering career, we probably would have made a trip to the emergency room to get stomachs pumped. Now that is improvement.
~I used to answer every little tiny single "peep" that came out of Mario. I would lie awake in bed at night and listen to the monitor and if he sighed, or squeaked, or chirped, or moaned, I was in his room and on top of him making sure everything was ok. On the flip side, if he was too silent for too long, I was convinced that he was suffocating and I would run in and stare at him for a good 30 minutes to make sure he was breathing regularly. Fast forward to the present. I have been known, on occasion, to tell my Goombas not to bother me unless someone is literally broken, bleeding, or dead. If they aren't broken, bleeding, or dead, I don't need to know about it. Hey, come on. I'm not the only mom that thinks this way. Sometimes ya just gotta nip that whining in the bud.
~When Mario was little, I used to limit the television to 1 hour a day. And not all at once! It had to be broken up throughout the day. Now, well, let's just say Telly V and I have an understanding. She babysits my kids and shows them movies and entertainment, while I get laundry, dishes, or a shower done. Or read my People magazine. Whatever.
So many other things have changed. These are only a few. I am glad that I have learned to relax and let my kids be kids. I am lucky enough to have been a Stay-at-Home-Mom with them since Mario was born. Have I loved every minute of it? No. Not gonna lie. There were times when I thought they would be better off with someone else, or when I thought God must be punishing me for something in a previous life, or when I started drinking at 2 p.m. just to make it through the day. Would I trade any of it for all the money in the world? Absolutely not. I love these Goombas. They make me laugh and cry, they surprise me with something new every day (good or bad!), they keep me on my toes, they make me want to scream and head for the hills, and they make my heart swell with love and pride.
So, yay for me! They say the first 10 years are the hardest. I made it through the diapers, the bottles, the snot, the tears, the vomit, and I came through with flying colors. Of course, I could never have done it without Bowser, Zaz and Pop, Grandma and Grandpa Bowser, and all of my amazing Mommy friends. But the point is, I did it. And now, when I am walking through Target, and I see a new mommy, with her baby and her bottle of hand sanitizer sitting front and center in her cart, I smile to myself and I think, someday she will have made it, too. And I hope she enjoys the ride as much as I have.
Cheers to 10 years!