No one was more surprised than my husband and I when the doctor told us I was seven weeks pregnant. Exactly one year to the day before, they said I would never be able to have children. I was almost 43 years old. My frame was too small for the baby which affected the position of her left leg. After she was born she wore a leg harness for several months. We were uncertain if she would ever walk.
Fast forward today, 4 years later. Since motherhood, I’ve discovered that I am stronger than I thought possible. I’m learning patience and potty training is testing my patience. Potty training with menopause is really testing my patience. Yes, I’ve reached that chapter in my life. It’s not easy to have patience potty training an active child while in the middle of a mood swing and worst hot flash in history. I’ve been putting off potty training because I didn’t want to deal with it. I couldn’t put off the menopause. Wasn’t I just in middle school reading my favorite Judy Blume books, listening to my Walkman and passing notes in class? How did those times in my life pass so quickly? I cringe with every old and new wrinkle. Any spiral of gray hair makes me want to cry. Part of me still feels like I did when I was much younger. I miss my teen days of hours waiting for my favorite videos to come on TV and when a bad hair day was among my biggest problems. I recently read an amazing article in The New York Times written by Molly Ringwald who starred in the movies Sixteen Candles and Pretty in Pink. It’s been over 30 years since those movies were in theaters. I’m trying to wrap my brain around it being that long ago.
I think about how some of my classmates have children in college when I’m just preparing to enroll my daughter in kindergarten. Right now my daughter is innocent and happy. When she starts school I worry about some of the things that may influence her. I think about the first time someone might make her cry or hurts her feelings. I think about other things that may happen in her life. Am I ready for all of this?
My daughter has a fascination with clocks and numbers and its fun for me to watch her enjoy learning. I wonder if she will like school? Will she be a dancer, like to play sports or will she like to sing or become a writer? The possibilities and questions are endless. I hope she has happy adventures and fond memories of growing up. I hope she has more good times than bad. I want her to know she can talk to her father and I. I hope she will cherish our mother and daughter relationship just as much as I adored my relationship with my mother. I hope she learns stands up for herself and doesn’t let fear or insecurity keep her from trying things she may enjoy, unlike her mother.
My daughter wants to be with me all of the time. Although it can be challenging to get a free moment, I’m going enjoy her wanting to be with me because that will change. As much as I would love to hold on to this time in our lives I can’t keep her in a bubble. A good friend told me that a child’s milestones are preparing them and the parent for when that child is ready to be on their own. I realize I purposefully put off the potty training because I don’t want to let her go. The truth is she began letting go when she took her very first steps to walk on her own.
My menopause is like the potty training in my world. I have to deal with both, work through them and be patient. Working on the potty training is exhausting and frustrating. Just like I’ve realized with my past this time will be a memory before I know it. I’m forging through and preparing for the hurdles to come with each new gray hair and all.