From the very first moments of motherhood, I became what I feared: a worrier to a degree never before seen in my life. Was he eating enough? Was he pooping enough? Why wasn’t he focusing on me? Should he be standing up so soon on his own? Why is he skipping crawling? And now, later: Why isn’t he talking? What’s wrong? Don’t run so fast, don’t jump from there, don’t lick your fingers while they are covered in dirt, don't, don't, don't... It’s become exhausting.
I fear for his future. I worry about the things he'll face that I can't even imagine. I worry about the things he'll face that I CAN imagine. I hover around him, trying to encourage him to talk, to slow down, to just be a baby for a second longer. I get frustrated when I hear other kids around his age talking. That’s when I take one step toward "late talker" and 20 seconds later, I'm 1,000 steps away at "totally mute, autistic and living with us the rest of his life". And then I wish I could fast forward five years and see what's going to happen (I did say I read the end of books first, right?).
There are some nights that I drop onto the bed, tired and complain to Isaac that I "just can't do this anymore. I don't have the strength and ability to be a mom and I made a huge, horrible mistake". These nights I don't think I'm strong. I don't think I'm good at this. I don't think I'm doing the right things. I feel his limitations are my fault: if I hadn't gotten sick when I had him, if I hadn't scrubbed the tub that one time and inhaled fumes - my gosh, I should have used more natural cleaning products sooner! It's a cycle I get into and Isaac has gotten good at pulling me out. He lists the things I do well. He points out that our son is happy and healthy. He holds me and comforts me and talks me up from the bottomless pit of worry I create.
And there, in that brief moment I don't worry. I see Sammy laughing and running without fear. I hear him jabber and point at the lights and play with his cars. I see his face light up when he sees his monkey, his best friend. It's sweet and it's innocent and I wish, briefly, that mothering came as easily. Luckily, my face also lights up when I see him, so I guess we're even on one thing.