By Cherimie Crane Weatherford
There is a certain purity in the dark throes of exhaustion, a time in which there is no desire for pleasantries, pretension fades into perspective and instinct prevails. A gentle nudge from the edge of reason and a slight thump from the hand of humanity is all that threads the final cloth of the quilt of life. Day turns to night and night turns to day with no discrimination or differentiation. We are able to compartmentalize, categorize and rationalize events by intensity of action. That which requires little energy becomes sanctuary from that which requires thought. The intersection of What the Heck and Why Not is poetically named parenthood.
Having now traveled along the parenthood path for the entirety of eight full months, I am an obvious expert in everything I don’t know, should have known, should have done and certainly shouldn’t have said. It is a badge of courage I wear proudly, when I don’t forget it in her diaper bag. The adorable books coated in fairy tales and free advice that lined her nursery shelves are now her basic chew toys and weapons to wield upon my once spoiled dog. The closet of once pristinely precious clothes are now characterized by the degree of stain, since baby food takes no prisoners. The crib that I wistfully watched for three months is now seen by its tiny occupant as a mortal enemy of which to avoid at all costs. Those sweet lace-trimmed headbands and bows are but a tool of distraction while attempting to put a diaper on a little lady who prefers au natural over a covered derriere. Sweet, soothing lullabies have given way to creative ad libs that will never earn me Mom of the Year. This new job requires an all new skill set that changes the moment any mastery occurs.
Having always been somewhat of a quick study, parenthood baffles me into an oblivion. Ingrained in my very being is the belief that nothing is impossible, yet opening a tiny container of sweet potato puree while holding the future kickboxing queen of the world is, for all practical purposes, impossible.
Finding common ground with any adversary has been relatively easy for me. However, finding common ground with a tea cup version of myself over the necessity of sleep has proven to be a battle I shall wage with little hope of victory and no hope of surrender. Proudly, I implemented every Googled remedy of proper parenting only to end the day violating every recommended procedure given. Clearly, parenting is subjective.
Silence was once my solace, now it is my cue to rush to see what calamity has ensued. My life once had a clear rhythm, a simplicity of being and moments of rest. The only rhythm that remains now is the cadence of my feet back and forth to the changing station. It is a glorious whirlwind of pride and fear doused in the storms of self-doubt. It is a true test of character, a trial of triumph and a tale of a Mom in the making. There shall be epic battles, moments of valor and twists and turns that will pale even the greatest of novels — and that is just during the fastening of the car seat.
I have met my match, my most worthy of opponents, my greatest challenge of all and she has familiar eyes, a formidable determination and a flair for the dramatic. She has turned my world upside down, my days inside out and my home into a domicile of bibs and blankies. I will never be the person I was before, and for that I am immensely thankful, eternally exhausted and fully accepting of the complexity of sweet potato puree.