Thursday, December 31, 2009

The First Pancake - For my MamaFriends

Okay, I don't usually discriminate in terms of who I write my posts to. They are for anyone who wants to read them. And that is also true of this one. But this one, on the last day of one of the worst years of my life (and after 2007-2008 that is saying ALOT!) is especially for my MamaFriends out there. A little uplift for the year that passed and the one to come.

After I gave birth to Max (the second baby) I developed a theory - that the first baby, while she may have more clothes and pictures of her, is the first pancake. You use up all your ridiculous, obsessive, please-wash-your-hands-before-holding my baby energy. Especially if you fancy yourself an Alpha-Female leaving the work world to stay home and be fulfilled by motherhood (insert tongue in cheek or spit coffee on monitor). I was so obsessed with "The Vivi" (yes, I called her that in utero!) that I sent a detailed two-page letter of instructions with her to my mother's house when she stayed away from us for one night when she was 5 weeks old. My mother is a seasoned mother of two and a nurse! I actually wrote down what to do if she coughed or woke up in the middle of the night. Meanwhile I forgot to take my breast pump with me to the hotel and spent the entire night in utter agony! My mother was appropriately kind and just smiled at me while I left her apartment. She then called one of her best friends to laugh about me. I get it. I deserved it.

When making pancakes, even if you heat the skillet until water droplets dance you will probably turn it prematurely or flip it too carefully causing the batter to splatter and stick to the side of the pan. It happens. Hyper-vigilance. That can often lead you to make some intense decisions regarding that precious first pancake. More often than not it makes its way to the garbage or you give it to your husband or dog to eat. They become responsible for absorbing the joy and gooey goodness of the first pancake. You, the pancake-maker, are often too traumatized by your perceived failure to enjoy what the pancake has to offer.

I made pancakes on this beautifully snowy last day of 2009. And the first pancake was perfection. Golden brown and fluffy. I was enchanted, lovingly bathed it in vegan butter and put it in the oven to warm. As time went on - I had to finish the pancake batter - the pancakes were not as pretty and some of them got a little burnt. Not enough to put in the garbage (I do have two boys) but enough to think - wow, I didn't pay ANY attention to them did I? And today is when the first pancake theory expanded.

I have jokingly said that we will open a 529 for our children's college fund or their therapy. It seemed almost inevitable that no matter what I did as a parent they would need help when they got older. But that is not necessarily true. Here I am at the end of 2009, a year supposedly filled with hope and Yes-we-canitis and I cannot wait for midnight to roll around here on the east coast. I no longer abdicate, to history, the raising of my children; especially my beautiful-first pancake. Just because I needed therapy (lots and lots of therapy) doesn't mean that my children will need it. And just because I rebelled against my parents and could not communicate with them or anyone for quite some time does not mean that that is the fate of my children. And just because my first born is a girl does not mean that we are "doomed" to the complicated mother/daughter drama. All of these scenarios become true if I take my eye off the pan. If I allow them to burn through my inattention. Oh, I am not going back to the hypervigilance of those first heady-new-baby days rather settling into the comfortable rhythm of an experienced Mama. Keeping at least one eye on the pancake at all times! Well, most of the time :)!

Happy New Year

We are blessed may we recognize the blessing

in peace




Minkgirl said...

What a gorgeous post - all luscious language and tasty wisdom. I laughed out loud. A lot. Thanks for the metaphor and the metaphysical shot in the arm.

Nanda said...

I think this one is going in the book!