Once Tuco was born, I became obsessed with what it means to be a mom. I’d have all these inclinations that didn’t jive with who I was before Tuco was born. Here’s a story to explain.
My husband and I were lucky enough to get a night out to meet up with friends at our town’s summer festival. While chatting with our friends, two of them decided to go on the Ferris wheel. My husband thought it sounded fun, and he asked me if I wanted to go. I’ve always hated heights, and I’m usually quick to say no when asked to go on a carnival ride, but this time I said yes. Why? I was drunk on new motherhood.
“Yeah, let’s go,” I said. We went to the Ferris wheel and stood in line. I watched the ride go around and around, and I had no anxiety about it. I thought to myself, I’m a mom. Someday Tuco’s going to want to go on these rides, and I’m going to have to take him. I don’t want him to be afraid of things because I’m afraid of things. This is what a mom would do.
Things changed quickly once the carnival attendant secured the chain on our chair. Slight anxiety rippled through my nervous system, but I talked myself down. It’s fine. Kids are on this ride. It doesn’t go very fast. It’s fine. It’s fine. This is what a mom would do.
However, as our chair rose a few feet every time new people were let on, the anxiety bubbled fear through my body, vocalized it with my voice, and directed it to my husband. “STOP SHAKING THE CHAIR! I’m serious. I need you to not move,” I yelled at him. He denied any wrongdoing, and he was right. He wasn’t shaking the chair. The slightest body adjustment shook the chair. Breathing shook the chair.
I tried to enjoy the ride. When we were at the top of the wheel, I tried to take in the view. I wanted to feel excitement as the wheel spun around, but I didn’t. All I felt was the fear of heights that I had my whole life. Why would motherhood suddenly make me comfortable with being up high?
When the ride was over, I realized I had to accept my fear. I don’t have to advertise it to Tuco, but I also don’t have to deny it. Being a mom doesn’t have to mean that I have to be some super-woman, nonexistent version of myself. Though I want to, I’m not going to be able to teach Tuco about everything the world has to offer. For the things I cannot do, Tuco will have his father, extended family, and community friends to fill in the gaps. And along the way he’s going to learn things through his own experiences that don’t include me. And that’s totally fine. *Sniff*
All right, enough with the affirmation. I’ll just end with “I’m Good Enough, I’m Smart Enough, and Doggone It, People Like Me.”