Monday, March 28, 2011

My Baby Is The Best Mommy

I've been meaning to talk about something for awhile and that's what an incredible mother Lily is. It's obvious the boy has two fantastic parents when you meet him and hang out with him. He's so engaged and engaging, he's so confident and affectionate. He's so...perfect.

I'm not supposed to say that, but hell's bells. I will.

And the doctor confirmed that opinion today. I've mentioned before how Owen's pediatrician was the same one his mama had when she was a baby (which was about ten minutes ago) and actually, all of my kids were his patients.
I think all my kids liked him quite a bit but I suspect I'm the one who loves him the most. When we met, I was a young hippie mama and expecting my third baby and was planning on a home birth and he didn't approve of that but he didn't get up on any high horse about it, either. He knew I was a nurse, he respected me and my choice, and when I brought Lily in the day after she was born, he said,"I thought I'd be seeing you today. I heard there was a party at your house yesterday." And then he smiled and examined her and pronounced her to be perfect.

I have a lot of respect for this man and he's always treated me as an equal somehow which, believe me, doctors don't always do and certainly didn't always do (am I telling you something you don't know?) and as every mother knows, you need a pediatrician whom you not only trust as a medical provider for your child, but one who makes you feel comfortable with your mothering style and your choices and perhaps most importantly- makes you feel like your child is really very special.
And this doctor does that and it's such a joy for me to go with Lily to take Owen to his appointments because I think he does that for Lily, too.

He showed us Owen's growth statistics on the computer and he told us how very pleased he was with all of Owen's numbers. He's in the 95th-97th percentile in height, 90th percentile in weight, and 95th in head circumference. "Perfect! the doctor announced.

And then he asked questions about Owen's developmental behavior and his eating habits and drinking habits (only on weekends, we told him!- haha! that's a joke! we didn't say that at all) and he praised Lily for her choices and he kept asking, "Anything else? Anything else?" and we chatted for awhile and it was just lovely except for the part where Owen screamed like a banshee (what IS a banshee?) when the doctor was listening and examining.

Owen did like having his temperature taken in his ear, though. "More," he said, when it was over.

And of course he screamed when he got his shot but he recovered quickly and then we went out to eat and all was well.

When we were in the doctor's office, I told him that Lily is the best mama in the world and he said, "Well, look who HER mother is," which made me feel good, of course, but come on- she just is. I love to watch her and Owen together. He's like her little bear cub and she's infinitely patient with him and feeds him so well and healthfully and she just so plainly adores him.

She brushes his teeth twice a day which is something I didn't do for my toddlers. She reads him books, he's never had a diaper rash, he still gets his nursies, he knows that when she says no, she means it and she just has so much FUN with him.


Okay, of course no mother is perfect, just as no child really is either. Except for Owen.
But I have never honestly seen her do one thing with or for that boy that I didn't approve of. Not one. And she has such confidence in her mothering! Well-founded confidence, I might add.

And I have to tell you something- I am, quite frankly, astounded.

When Lily was growing up, she was stuck in the Terrible Twos from birth to age eighteen when she moved out of the house. I thought she hated me, even though I knew she loved me. She didn't talk to me hardly at all for a full year once and she told me later that it was because she'd had her tongue pierced and didn't want me to know.
Under-aged tongue-piercing was the least of it, too.

I seriously was not sure for eighteen years whether either one of us would make it.

And here she is, twenty-five years old which is really quite young, married to one of the finest, most loving fathers I've ever met, a good, good man and they own a house and they work so hard and I just never saw this coming. Never.

Lily planted a vegetable garden this spring. Do you hear that? Lily was the child I would have been least optimistic about the chances of being a gardener and she is. It's like...who IS this child?

Oh. She's my daughter. The one that I always said about, "If I can raise her up without killing that spirit of hers, she'll turn out to be anything she wants."

And I was right. But frankly, I think a great deal of that has to do with her daddy who had wonderful parents and a wonderful family and when I'd freak out and hide under the bed or cry about whatever it was that she had taken to doing most recently, whether it was throwing tantrums in the mall and screaming, "Help! Help!" as I carried her out, or threatening to call Child Protective Services on me because I told her she had to stay in her room until dinner time or getting tattooed in someone's kitchen, he'd be the one to step back and tell me not to worry so much, that she was going to be fine, that all would be well.

And I'd look at him like, "ARE YOU OUT OF YOUR MIND???!!!"

Turns out he wasn't. Turns out he knew what he was talking about. Turns out she turned out to be the most focused, wonderful, loving, patient woman and mother I've ever met. And for every gray hair she gave me, she has made up for a thousand-fold by being the sort of mother she is to my grandson and for allowing me to be such a part of his life.

Yeah. I know that I am doing a loving mitzvah by taking care of that boy but come on- I'd fight you tooth and nail if you tried to take that away from me. TOOTH AND NAIL! Lily and Jason have given my husband and me the greatest opportunity and the greatest joy of our lives in entrusting us with their son's care so generously. For not freaking out when he comes home covered in Lloyd dirt and maybe a little bit of chicken poop, too. For being completely attentive and yet completely at ease with all things having to do with that boy. For sharing him with us.
For not minding that I taught Owen the word "boobie."

So all of you parents who are going through...whatever...with your young kids, don't despair. Just keep on loving them. Keep on knowing that no matter what you think, they are listening, they know you love them, they love you too. That sometimes the younger they are when they get their ya-ya's out, the better. That a child's soul and spirit can be fierce beyond belief and honestly- that's a good thing. This world needs fierce souls and spirits. Desperately.

Hang on. Love them, love them, love them. Try not to let them get away with crap but if they do, know it's not the end of the world. Tongue-piercings can grow back. Tattoos can be redone. Children can grow up and turn into people and parents who are quite honestly, incredibly well-adjusted and amazing people.
And unbelievable parents.
And even- perhaps most unbelievably- wonderful friends whom you respect and adore and just enjoy the hell out of being around.

I'm telling you the truth.

Look at those pictures of my beautiful daughter and her beautiful son. See the joy? See the love?
And she even asked me if I wanted to go to the doctor with her. She asked ME. Her mother.

When I tell Lily and Owen good-bye, I always kiss and hug Lily, of course, and I tell Owen, "Your mommy is MY baby. Did you know that?"

And he gives us that face which seems to say, "No way!" and really, I find it hard to believe myself but she is. His mommy is my baby and my baby is the best mommy. The very best mommy in the whole world that Owen could ever have had. I will always remember how beautifully Lily pushed that boy into the world when every damn doctor said there was no way. And she did it without complaint and with such grace and power that I knew right then that she was going to be an amazing mother.

Which she is.
And I love her so much and I am so proud of her.

And that's what I'm thinking about this afternoon and I wish I'd had a crystal ball back when Lily was young to know even a part of what the future held for that girl. I would have worried a lot less and maybe I'd have less gray hair but what the hell? I like gray hair. Gray hair screams GRANDMOTHER!

So it all works out. Mostly it does.

Another miracle in this miraculous life of mine and an opportunity to say once again- Who knew? Not me.

But I sure do now.


  1. My daughter had several under-age piercings as well - tongue and naval...or navel, whichever one means belly-button.
    The tongue bar was removed after it ruined one of her lower front teeth and that required a root canal.
    The belly-button ring came out when she was pregnant.
    She's a good mommy too now. Now she's talking about dying her hair pink...

  2. I sure loves me some Lily. And it's true, she's a great, great mom.

  3. This brought tears to my eyes. There is so much wonder and gratitude and love in this. I know Lily is a wonderful mother, well, just look at Owen. He shines. And Lily shines, too. You did good, mama. You surely did.

  4. You've made me cry, and as you know, I'm not much of a crier. I love you so much -- you ease so many people's burdens with your wise words. Thank you.

  5. This is very sweet Ms Moon. Owen is an amazing boy and so is his mom and his grandma.

    Sounds like a great pediatrician. We have a great pediatrician too. But the gatekeeper at our orthopedic....imma gonna fire her.

  6. Lucy- All that "stuff" don't mean shit, does it? Personal expression is not the soul.

    DTG- She's the best! (So far!)

    Angella- All I did was keep that girl alive by hook or crook and LOVE THE HELL OUT OF HER!

    Elizabeth- That's the best reason ever to write this blog. I swear. Thank-you so much for those words. I mean it. Thank-you.

  7. Oh Mary, you've got me crying again, too. Good tears, beautiful opening heart tears. That photo of Lily and Owen with the lovely colorful wall behind them conveys so much. And I can't think of any greater compliment to a daughter than these words of love and admiration from her mother.

  8. Marvelous Lily Momma! She SO is.

    And yes, Owen is a most confident young man.

    Love ya mommas,

  9. My breath is taken away! I love this so much. I worry about all manner of things, but mostly that when my children are grown I wonder will they look back at their childhood and know they were deeply, wholly loved? I think they will, I hope it, especially on those trying days where they just seem so hard to please. It's so nice to read this.
    Blessings to that lovely Lily and her precious child.

  10. Rock on, Lily! Woohoo!

    And this makes me feel a little better about the hell I put MY Mother through and the hell that awaits me.

  11. lulumarie- It is SUCH a joy to me that I can give my daughter the support and praise which she so soundly and roundly and completely deserves. I can't even tell you.
    In mothering my children, I have mothered myself. What more can I say?

    Ms. Fleur- From such a good mother, that is high praise! Thank-you, darling.

    Lora- Honey. Don't even worry one bit. Your babies will always know. Always. Which is one of the reasons I love you and your blog so much.

    Ms. Trouble- It's a child's responsibility to teach a parent well. These lessons take many forms. Some are harder to learn than others. That's the way I look at it.

  12. Dear Mary, what a truly wonderful post! I hope Lily reads it. Amazing.

    I have to say the reason I've stalled having kids is for precisely the reasons you describe... I was a NIGHTMARE. I don't think I could cope with it now.

    "Well, look who HER mother is" Genius. He knows the rules!

    Love C xx

    PS. Thank God! We have pop up comments, well done xx

  13. So wise, Ms. Moon. And every word finds its way into Truth, and into the heart of many!

    Your family is blessed. You have done so much healing and loving and living and growing, and today you reap the benefits of all that sowing. Today, and tomorrow and forever. Seriously, you are an angel.

    Bless your heart.

  14. Christina- And don't you think I gave my mother hell? Oh I did. I deserve everything I ever got. And more. Yes. I took your advice on comments and someone is sure to complain but what the hell?

    Laura- I've tried. It was apparent to me many years ago that I had to get help for myself because the BUCK STOPPED HERE. And maybe in a few more generations, the sins of the mothers will be repaid. Who knows?

  15. I love me some Lily too! It's funny, but when I was young I was always trying to learn from Lily what NOT to do (because it usually involved getting in trouble and making you upset) but now I want to be just like her. She is an amazing mom, so calm, patient, and knows exactly what to do. She and Jason are wonderful parents.
    I wish I could have gone in to see Dr. Long today. I miss him. hehe

  16. honeyluna- Ah. You and Lily loved each other from the get-go, even if there were a few bumps in the road of sibling-hood. And wasn't Lily the funniest girl? She is certainly a mom to emulate now.
    I'll never forget the evening on St. George Island where out of the blue you just started dancing around in the sand singing, "I love Dr. Long!" You were like what? Five years old? You should have been with us today.
    I love you, honey, so much, and you are going to be a great mama too! No doubt in my heart.

  17. Okay, I feel so loved right now! Not to mention a little embarrassed. Just to clarify a few points of my rebel years: it was about 6 months until you caught my tongue piercing, I got the tattoo in a bed not a kitchen, and I also got my belly-button pierced under-age without you. Plus I still wear my tongue ring sometimes, it is not closed. But aside from all that thank you for such a wonderful post. I love seeing Owen through your eyes, it is so rewarding. I love you and I do not agree that I am the best mom, because I think you are the best mom. Love, love, love you!

  18. Oh yea, never let me sit like I did in that first picture again. So not cute!

  19. You have done well to not crush the spirit of your children and to let them be who they are. That is a really good thing.

  20. A beautiful post even if it did embarrass her. What's a little embarrassment after all those gray hairs. :)
    Just think how boring your life would have been without Lily's wild spirit.

  21. Ha! Lilo, ya make me laugh. Let's go to lunch, y'all.

  22. Thank you for that, Ms Moon. God knows I need to hear some of it.

    Lily, you look great :)

  23. I like how you used the word perfect so often in this post, b/c that's just about it:)

    And, thank you. I've got one of those real live teenagers right now, who bickers about everything. And I just know she's a super person underneath that - she gives glimpses every so often! This was good reminder to me too.

  24. Lily must be very proud to read this post.

    95th in head circumference = BIG BRAIN. OWEN = GENIUS.

  25. Love those pictures. Loved this post. We are so grateful for Lily too, for letting you share her and Owen with us. A garden! Wow...

  26. Oh Ms. Moon... You are both so very lucky.

  27. Lily- Didn't you call me from Key West to get my permission to get your belly button pierced? Or was that the second, "legal" time? And thanks- bed is SO much better than the kitchen! I love you! And also- that tattoo on your back is beautiful.
    As are you.

    Syd- I'm not sure I could have crushed Lily's spirit.

    Mel's Way- Unimaginable.

    DTG- She's always made us laugh!

    Jo- We all need reminding sometimes.

    Jill- She's there. She just has to be a teenager.

    Ms. Bastard-Beloved- Indeed!

    Bethany- Yep! A garden!

    deb- I love you, too.

    Angie M- And we know it. Yes, we do.

  28. Oh what a gorgeous post. What a wonderful thing to get out there and let your daughter and the world know.

    It makes me despair a little less about my own high-spirited girl (whose spirit I want to keep as well, but while keeping her safe and raising her right).

    Also - I wish I had a mother who wanted to come to a doctor's appointment with me and my children. I wish she wasn't so broken.


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