I remember being pregnant with my second child. To say I did not do well as a pregnant woman would be an understatement. Physically I was fine. I gained little weight. I did not suffer morning sickness. But emotionally and hormornally? Watch out. I pretty much hated everyone unless they were offering food.
Being pregnant with the second baby was different than being pregnant the first time. This round I had someone to share the excitement with. Instead of laying in bed alone wondering if that was gas or a baby kick I had a second opinion. Being pregnant as a married woman was more accepted than being ‘a young girl in trouble.’ Now I was ‘glowing’, having baby showers, people were exclaiming in anticipation how round my belly was instead of trying not to notice that the impending birth would soon be upon us.
Around the eighth month I started thinking I had made a mistake. I really did not enjoy labor. I was afraid of the pain. I could usually calm myself down with the fact that soon this huge lump would be removed, I would no longer suffer indigestion, I would not be uncomfortable sleeping, eating, coughing. I would not have to pee constantly. And that irritating little foot that was always jammed under my ribs would be removed. And I was asking for drugs three days in advance.
I also felt sorry for this new little one. I already had a beautiful bouncing baby boy. How could I ever possibly love another child as much as I loved him? I just couldn’t see loving this one as fully as I loved the first one.
March 5, 1991. Here she comes and I got the drugs. For me, this meant that I could actually rest between labor pains. It also meant I had brief conversations with the seven dwarves…narcotics are a good time. When she arrived we looked at her and couldn’t decide what to name her. We had a couple names picked out but I think her birth certificate was blank for a whole day. We named her before we left the hospital. Emily Lucille and somewhere along the line she became Emmer.
Once again, I am at a loss as to where to start the story of this one.
She cried a lot more than the first one. She was the apple of her daddy’s eye which is funny because now when people describe her they point at her and say “Apple.” then point at me and say “Tree.” Sometimes sour, sometimes sweet, sometimes pithy, sometimes rotten.
I was confident that raising this one was going to be a breeze. I mean I already had one and he is six years old and still alive. How hard can a girl be?
For the most part she was a little easier. She did not give me half the worry the first one did but she has her own claim to the gray hairs on my head.
Bob calls her a little butterfly. She flits around the house spreading joy and laughter. Alighting here but moving on quickly. She is as laid back as they come. Nothing ruffles her feathers. She truly practices acceptance and tolerance of all things. Her name easily could have been Grace for it is what she offers everyone.
She had a pretty bad horseback riding accident. Broke her ankle, dislocated her shoulder. Was in the hospital for about a week, laid up in bed for a week more and in a wheel chair for a few weeks after that. I could see how much pain just sitting up caused. While she was still in the hospital the nurse came in and needed to change the sheets on the bed. All I could do was sit and watch as my baby (she was almost a teenager) grimaced through every painful movement. When the nurse was done Emmer looked at her and said thank you. All I wanted to do was choke the woman for putting my girl through that and yet my Emmer was just grateful.
Again, as a parent, I was in awe of what she was teaching me.
She was happiest when her socks, hair bow and outfit all matched. Throw in a pair of high heels and she was ecstatic. While flipping through old photos she looks, points and exclaims “I loved that dress!” In preschool they had a mock Thanksgiving dinner with the parents. All the children had little place mats that said “I am thankful for________.” The children filled in the blank. As I walked around the table and looked at everyone’s place mats I noticed most had a reference to parents. “I am thankful for my mom and dad.” “I am thankful for my family.” I am thankful for Mommy.” Then we found Emmer’s. “I am thankful for my Snow White dress.” It was apparent that this was a girly girl who knew the importance of a good outfit.
When I first met Bob he was in a bit of trouble. I was in the living room, on my knees praying. Asking God if I was the right person to help this man. Was I strong enough to give him what he needed? Emmer came down and asked what I was praying about and when I explained that this man needed some help, some saving, and I was wondering why God had sent him to me she looked at me and said, “Maybe God put him in your life not so you could help him but so he could save you.” So Emmer, Bob is your fault.
Wise beyond her years that one is.
This one can make me laugh until I cry. She makes me rethink my judgmental ways. She forces me to look at people with no preconceptions. She encourages me to be more carefree. She takes risks. She is loyal. She makes no sense. She takes fashion risks…can you say ‘zebra pants’? She has bad luck with cars. She makes funny videos about pooping. She has an affinity for gingers. She prefers Starburst over chocolate. She wants a puppy, not a kitten, but she’d take a kitten. She once sat in the car for two hours after watching an alien movie because she was afraid of being abducted. She has not been abducted but does think it could possibly happen. She will miss Matt when the aliens take him back.
She is the peacemaker in the family. She quickly defends or offers comfort to the sibling that I am yelling at. She forgives easily. She does not remember transgressions. She never holds a grudge. She apologizes. She wants to make everyone happy. And she pretty much does. She is haphazard. She is a little messy. She often makes the same silly remark about something at the exact time that I do. She sometimes cries when this happens. She is the apple. I am the tree. She still has great fashion sense. She has a very artistic eye. She can decorate. She can paint. She can take great photos. She breaks out in song…often. She does not allow me to dance to rap music. She is the reason we have a neurotic, nail biting, skittish border collie. She doesn’t do math well. But, she wanted a horse. You need five acres of land per horse. She was a whiz at calculating how many horses you could have on 187 acres of land.
She left me for a boyfriend. I sometimes wish he would send her back to me but a happy daughter far away is more important to me than a sad daughter here at home. I left my own mom for a boyfriend. I did not realize at the time the bittersweet feelings that kind of leaving brings. As moms we raise them all to leave.To make their own lives. To be happy, to love, to be loved. And yet when we are successful and they do go we wish we hadn’t been so eager for them to test their wings. As a matter of fact I sometimes regret giving her wings.
And once again, as with the first born, I am back to wishing I could do it over again, change some things along them way. Do things better. I wish I could slow it all down instead of willing it to go faster. I can only go forward. I can only tell her now that I love being her mom. I love her. I love her as fully as I love the first child. I am so proud of her. She is my Mem. She is my apple and miss her often.
Now if only she AND the boyfriend would move back to Illinois. Oh, and call me!