Mama friends, let’s take a trip down memory lane, shall we? Remember the 9 months you spent growing your baby? Yes, those 9 months can be tiring, grueling, and downright uncomfortable. But you’re quick to forget these things as you sing to your baby, talk to your baby, decorate a nursery, pick out a name, and prepare for a brand new life. Those 9 months are also beautiful and revolutionary, as you are literally one with your baby. You know your baby better than anyone. There is no greater bond.
And then, your baby is born. Your world is rocked in the most profound way. If you’re anything like me, the baby that you knew so well suddenly feels like a stranger.
Full disclosure: My daughter, Greer, is my baby soulmate. I am 100% sure of this. Sometimes, however, I am not 100% sure that she came from me.
Sure, the 3 months of bed rest, sleepless nights due to her constant movement, and 15 hours of labor are proof enough that yes, she is my baby. But, honestly, there are times that I feel like I have no idea who this child is!
When I was a baby, my mom describes me as calm and Zen. I was content the majority of the time and was a relatively easy baby. She spent my pregnancy telling me this, and I imagined having my very own tranquil, Buddha-like baby.
This, my friends, is the polar opposite of my daughter, who a pediatrician described as having the temper of a wildcat. Said pediatrician had only met her minutes earlier, but instantly knew her well.
A few words to describe Greer would be strong-willed, spirited, feisty, sassy, stubborn, and temperamental. The scary part? We’re not even to the terrible 2’s or the so-called ‘threenager’ stage yet!
Sometimes I look at my daughter in the midst of what can only be described as a tantrum as she’s thrashing her little body all over the place and think to myself, “Who is this child and where did she come from?”
I just don’t get it – I don’t have a short fuse. It’s not in my nature to get mad. I highly doubt I’ve ever been described as temperamental. This is not the baby I was expecting.
It’s taken me over a year to have this light-bulb moment: my daughter is NOT me. Say whatttt? I didn’t give birth to a mini-me? No, no I didn’t. She is her own person with her own characteristics and her own (larger than life) personality.
When Greer is not happy, everyone knows it! It doesn’t matter if you’re near or far, trust me, you’re going to know. Girlfriend’s got an impressive set of lungs on her, and she is not afraid to put them to use.
But, when she is happy, she is joy personified. She smiles with her whole entire face, and her little giggle is beyond infectious. My girl feels things so completely, so immensely, both the good and the bad.
Yes, Greer is a firecracker, but she’s also not meek. She is strong and determined. As she grows, one of my greatest hopes for her is that she will be confident and assertive, two traits that have always been a challenge for me.
If this first year is any indication, I don’t see Greer as being a casual observer of life, as I’ve often been. I see her as growing up to be the kind of girl who sees things she doesn’t like in the world and doesn’t take no for an answer. She may just be the kind of girl who decides to do something about it – the kind of girl who changes things for the better. I picture Greer being the kind of girl I will – and already do – admire.
So maybe it’s a good thing that she’s not me. In fact, maybe it’s the best thing. Maybe we’re not supposed to have carbon copies of ourselves because that would be too easy. There would be no challenge, no surprise, and no fun. She has more than enough moxie to spare; in fact, some of her tenacity has rubbed off on me as I find myself being more self-assured in her presence. Greer may not be the baby I expected, but she is exactly the baby I needed. They say that opposites attract, and I’ve never believed it more than I do now that I’ve met my baby soulmate.