I’ve been sliding on the Mom Rainbow for quite some time now, and I just didn’t know it.
You see, in the beginning, at the very start of the rainbow, the colors catch your attention and you see the upward climb. Your babes are so – present. They are everything beautiful – colorful. They need your eye. They rely on your nourishment. They react to your every pulse. And you to them. Then you climb that rainbow. It seems like at every step you are craving the independence your little one might give so that you might see the growth, the development, the milestones. You can’t wait for them to achieve. To Be. You relish in every moment.
Ahh. That smile. It wasn’t gas. It was genuine. He loves my voice.
And then the realizations of the colors become truer. There is a reality in the climb.
Oh, please. Just keep your eyes closed for ten seconds. Ten seconds. That is all I ask. Don’t make eye contact. Do NOT, by any means, hear me breathe…
I admit I begged this of more than one infant-turned-semi-pro-toddler. I wanted sleep – no I craved sleep – like a drug.
And then they are toddlers, inching their way up the rainbow, sometimes sleeping, sometimes cooperating when you try to wash the sand from their hair, sometimes breathing one final deep sigh before drifting to dreams in your arms.
Shoot! I don’t think I got out all the sand. I’ll try to gently rub away the day’s play.
Shhh. Stay sleeping. Your body is tired, and so is my mommy brain.
Boom. They are reading, writing, and having opinions. They know what they want for lunch, how they want their dolly put to bed, just right, and how you have to sing that last song one more time. The colors of the Mom Rainbow are so bright – everything is alive and active and – well, purely exhausting.
Read this book, Mommy. Do the voice.
I want a bunny. I promise I’ll take care of the bunny. I am getting SO big.
Can we make muffins tomorrow?
How old are you?
I like stickers.
You are my best friend. Well, besides Eric.
Did you notice? Your voice is now their voice. They are participating in the rainbow climb. It is almost like listening to a record (remember those archaic devices?) on skip. The thoughts are chaotic and beautiful. The colors of the Mom Rainbow keep glistening. This is glorious. There are so many things happening. Soccer practice. Church choir. Volunteering together at the soup kitchen. Reading at the library. Days with friends at the park. Living the mommy dream.
And just at the top of the rainbow. The tip-top of the Mom Rainbow, you feel the lurch in your stomach. It is just like what you feel at the precipice of the roller coaster ride. You know the plunge is coming but you deny it. You don’t want it to be so. They are tweenagers, perhaps teenagers, and they are plunging. With or without you. Buckle up, Mom. This part of the rainbow can be a bit steep.
I thought she was my real friend.
Drop me off around the corner so they don’t see you, Mom.
Mom!!! Will you help me with this?!
Mom – relax. This is how all the kids wear it.
Mom…. Where are you?
You are on the mom-yo-yo at this point. They love you. They love you knot. Tied in deep knots of denial, need, fear, and strives for independence. You keep sliding down the rainbow and you have no brakes. You just pray for a smooth landing.
Mom, I have decided on a college! (survive on just breathing)
Oh, Mom. You don’t understand.
I can’t believe this is the last time we will spend Super Bowl Sunday together! Next year I’ll be in my dorm at this time! (insert fake smile to hide the pain)
Mom!?!? Where are you? I need you to fill out this form, wash my uniform, and make sure I’m up on time for class.
Mom?!?! Today was SOOOO long. Can we talk?
And suddenly, as those colors of the Mom Rainbow all start to merge, and you think – OH CRAP – MY KID IS GROWING UP! – you realize this is just the pot of gold. You did it. Way back when you wished for quiet nights. Now you will have them. You will also have a child who grew in your love and learned how to show his or her colors to the world. And what a glorious sight that is. To travel the Mom Rainbow, getting a few splinters along the way – and see your child plunge into his fortunate future.
Sign me up for the next ride, please. Just don’t spoil the ending. This part has been way too good.