Friday, Aug. 2, 2013
I think a lot about what I’m teaching Wilder. I see with each of his milestones how the things we do and say are mimicked in his own little way (like how I got a firm squeeze on the bottom followed by ‘tickle, tickle, tickle’ while trying to do laundry last week — wherever did he pick that one up, honey?). I see the world through his eyes (warts and all). As much as I’ve taught him in these 22 months together, I have realized many times how very much he has taught me. I’ve learned that life is about much more than I ever realized. That there is a kind of love that (as my sister so aptly puts it) kinda just makes your heart explode. And a kind of testing that makes your patience and resolve just kinda explode (I am not cleaning scrambled eggs off the floor again).
I’ve learned what babies know but can’t say. Those little survivors get what they need without words. They are helpless and at once so very powerful. I’ve learned that what Wilder needs in his life is pretty much what I need in mine if I’m being honest.
I see now that life is best lived with a foundation of constancy and consistency and love that doesn’t fail (even if it’s hopelessly imperfect). That the beams that frame that life are made from facing the unexpected with humor and joy. That what fills the rooms of this life are the things we consider extras but are truly the necessities — like pancakes with syrup for dinner and singing in the living room in your underwear too loud and dancing and dancing and dancing. Puddle splashing. Drippy Popsicles. Using the chopsticks for drumsticks.
I’ve learned that we just need people who will show up for us. And try. Over and over again. That there are few things not improved by a good bath, a cup of milk and a warm snuggle.
I’ve learned there never are enough hours in the day (still working on accepting that one). And that there’s perhaps nothing sweeter in this world of motherhood than an unexpected kiss (even those slobbery open mouth ones), your child’s squishy arm wrapped around your neck or the feel of their contented sigh as they nod off to sleep in your arms.
I’ve learned that saying “no” 34,566 times a day is its own kind of love. And that there’s a whole lot about this world of which I had no knowledge before Wilder came screaming into it.
More than anything I see now how very much the more I know gives me new knowledge that I don’t know much. I’m not even two years in. I have much left to learn. And just my luck, I have quite the insistent teacher.
IND Monthly Style Editor Amanda Bedgood and her husband, Mike (who will contribute to this column), have a 22-month-old son, Wilder.