Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Little Moments of Gross

There are an insurmountable number of horrors that no one tells you about when you become a mother. For me, those ACK!! experiences seem to all center around my body.
WARNING: if there are guys or women who have yet to give birth reading this, turn back now. There are confessions and musings forthcoming that will scar your psyche. Check back soon for "The Viking's Adventures in Preschool."

The crying, the whining, the sleeplessness, the expense... I was ready for it all and none of it changed my life in a major way. I've changed 760 million diapers and wiped body fluids off of just about every surface in the tri-state area. Never missed a step... kept right on, keepin' on. However... the day I learned what an episiotomy was, and that hemorrhoids never actually go away (they just shrink), I was literally struck dumb. Slack-jawed and blinking, I was reviled and crushed by the realization that my child was basically shredding me from the inside out. Then there was this gem:
It is the part of my first labor and delivery that lives most vividly in my memory - the minute that the Tornado sucked in his first breath, and I felt his warm and slimy body miraculously, tangibly, amazingly MINE, the moment was shattered as Dr. Sprong said to me from between my knees, "I'm going to be a while here. You tore right down to the hemorrhoid." If anyone has said anything to me before or since that was as devastating or horrifying, I can't friggin remember it. The next moment, I saw a huge sweeping arm gesture as Dr. Betsy Ross began to embroider my lady bits. Seven stitches...

Coming up on 36 years old with my baby-bearing days blessedly behind me, I can tell you poppets, that I haven't felt this good about my clothed body in 15 years. Hours at the gym and a painful break-up with Sara Lee have resulted in a depth of self-love I didn't know was possible. After spending a lifetime as a chubby gal and then growing two babies, take it from me that losing 50 pounds and wearing size 10/12 looks great any which way but naked... I'll spare you the sob-story about my pitiful ta-tas and skip right to my gut. It never occurred to me that losing weight would exacerbate the puckered, wrinkly appearance of the stretch marks that slash my midsection. Sit-ups and jump switches and ellipticals be damned... NOTHING is going to fix my tore-up tummy. Ever. I thought I'd started to come to terms with it, to appreciate that like all things that come with age, this was but another badge of honor - earned with the blood, sweat and tears of motherhood.
Well, I've come to learn that no one can set fire to a firm conviction or a positive spin on a situation like my kids... A few days ago, The Viking waltzes into the bathroom as I'm buttoning my pants and wonders, "How come your belly is older than your face?"
I quietly walked past him and breathed slowly in through the nose and out the mouth, into the kitchen where I threw away 3/4 of his Easter candy. I'll blame it on the dog with a clear conscience when he wants to know where his gummy fish are... little shit.
I guess all those precious "little moments of Grace" I've shared in the past are sufficiently tempered with little moments of Gross... as it should be. Nothing's perfect. Reflecting on the Viking's question over the last several days, here's my answer:
My dearest Viking,
At 3 years old you asked me why my "belly was older than my face." You asked me not out of malice, but curiosity and once I exacted what felt like fair retribution for your insensitivity (trashing roughly a pound of gummi worms, Swedish fish and fruit snacks) it was easier to see that clearly. You're forgiven, of course but I reserve the right to embarrass you and otherwise torture you through your childhood and adolescence for the havoc you have wrecked upon my body, as well as my nerves. (There will also be all of the standard curses invoking the Universe to gift you with a child EXACTLY like or worse than yourself.)
My belly looks hell because somewhere along the line I decided I needed to be your mom. I wished and prayed and hoped for your brother and then for you because apparently I'd decided I'd been getting way too much sex and sleep. I guess I just couldn't live one more minute without having a small, surly, wet, sticky, drooly, stinky, heavy, squirmy, snotty bobble-headed mass of flesh to drag around and serve every minute of every day. I thought to myself... "I've had it with movies, long, hot showers, and music sung by people. Bring on the singing dinosaurs and staying in the same shirt for three days because it has the fewest spit up stains. God damn it! I want babies. Who needs friends? I've got too much time on my hands."
My belly looks like a topographical map because I felt like things just wouldn't be worth saying if I didn't have to say them three fucking times. I said to myself, you know who'll need you to say, "Stop running!" 6 times before wiping out and looking stunned about it? -KIDS! We should have TWO!! I can't cough without peeing because I grew two humans with my very own body who used my bladder for a trampoline in utero
My belly looks older than my face because I traded serenity and sex appeal for the incredible experience of feeling little sea monkeys bonking and pushing around inside me, and for the smile that spreads across my face with each peel of delighted laughter that reaches my ears from your precocious mouth. I have no hope of sunlight ever tanning my tummy because I was compelled to birth not one but two of the most precious pains in my arse I'll ever know.
That's why...