Mother's Day is over but I have a few thoughts about Clara and me and our relationship that I just wanted to jot down here because I know I will forget them otherwise. First things first though, I asked Paul to take a few quick photos of me and Clara-girl on Mother's Day since it was my first ever official Mother's Day and since I hope to take a photo with my kids each year on Mother's Day as a tradition. Incidentally, I have people tell me that they only look at the blog for the photos and they skip whatever I write and I have had other people tell me that they usually just ignore the photos and read whatever I have to say. Weird, right?
Anyway, sometimes I feel like a failure as a mom. Like Saturday at Clara's first swim lesson when the other 11 kids and their moms were all smiles and splashes and chins-in-the-water-just-like-the-instructor-asked and Clara was clinging to my neck wailing "mama-mama-mama!!!" while I endured the pitying looks of Rita, the teacher, for forty long minutes. And immediately after swim class I dragged my sweet girl through the ghetto in Hayward and woke her up from a much-needed nap to go inside the granite warehouse to look at slabs of "marron cohiba" for our kitchen because it was out of stock in San Jose. And then I stuck her back in her car-seat thinking she would fall asleep again on the drive home but instead got stuck in beach-bound traffic with an upset kiddo who whimpered and sometimes sobbed "mama-mama-mama" on the long, long drive home because she had had just enough sleep before to be unable to nod off again and by that point she was hungry and was fed up with being tormented by her mother. When we got home I snapped at Paul out of frustration over the whole ordeal, which only made me feel like a worse person, before giving Clara a piece of cold leftover pizza for lunch. Supermom, I know.
One of the dumb things I felt like shouting at Paul that afternoon was that he needed to cancel Mother's Day because I didn't deserve the recognition. But then I read a Swedish proverb on Pinterest that made me feel better, which said "Love me when I least deserve it because that is when I need it most."
I thought that when Clara finally learned to say "mama" that it would be the sweetest sound, but truly, it tears my heart out to hear her say it because she only says it in a plaintiff bleating way as though she is suffering some truly terrible fate. "Dada" on the other hand is her happy word and she says it sometimes in a magical whisper or sometimes in a joyous shout but either way it means all things wonderful. And yes, she said Dada first, probably a month ago and she just learned Mama the other week. Sigh.
But then there are days like Monday when I took Clara to Olive Garden for lunch since it is her birthday week and I am trying to do special things with her each day. She was having a little bit of a rough time at first because we had been running other errands and she has been hating her carseat lately and she was hungry. I watched her eyes widen with shock when she sipped up water from the bendy straw for the first time ever. She ate a breadstick, an entire bowl of black olives, and slurped down as much Zuppa Toscana (except for the potatoes which she spat out) as she could. I had two separate older women come up to me toward the end of our meal and say that they had been watching me and Clara and wanted to let me know that they thought I was doing a "great job as a young mother" with her and that she is such a pretty little thing, which was incredibly sweet of them.
Anyway, this post is neither meant to be a pity party or a pat-myself-on-the-back post. Mostly I just want to remember these days because they are filled with so many little adventures, whether fun or not so fun.