HMS Pinafore, Kate, and a Mama’s Fierce Love

Posted: October 12th, 2006 | Author: | Filed under: Friends and Strangers, Husbandry, Miss Kate, Mom | 1 Comment »

In a lifetime that’s been characterized by obsessive parental love, Miss Kate is currently experiencing a particularly high period of maternal adoration. Or, to say it more plainly: My God, can I love this baby any more?

It would almost be sickening except for the fact that it’s just at the apex of intensity without reaching that I’m-so-excited-I-have-a-headache place.

I’ve described my pride and excitement about Kate in high school play terms before. (This probably relates to what I’ve realized as an adult was my freakishly positive and happy high school experience.) At any rate, the play thing is something I use to explain how I feel about the fact that my dad and oldest sister and a ton of other family and friends don’t get to see Kate anywhere near as much as I wish they could. To me it’s like when you’re in the high school play. You’ve been rehearsing for so long, memorizing lines, singing your heart out, putting all your extra energy into it. You get to that place where you surpass the fear that it could be terrible and even arrive at the realization that it will be really quite good. When the performances finally arrive and your family is in the audience watching, you’re so damn proud of yourself and happy and excited to have them there. It’s a total high.

Okay, so stay with me here. Having Kate is like being in this incredible Broadway performance in the lead role and singing and performing in a way that is so exceptional and impressive that it astounds even you. It totally exceeds your expectations. But the thing is, instead of getting that thrill that everyone you care about and want to be proud of you (and sure, even those who you want to impress) will come, the fact is that people can’t make it to every performance. So sometimes you’re there bursting with pride and excitement and a desire to show off, and there’s no outlet for it.

Especially with my mother gone, I get these sudden pangs of wanting her to be able to see how amazing Kate is. To even just look at her her beautiful sweetness once. Those times are this whole feeling at its worst.

So sometimes it’s like Mark and I are just here in our little house in Oakland that just seems like any other little house but if you were to look inside you’d see that there is this wonder child who is being more beautiful and smart and sweet than you could ever imagine a baby to be. Whose little naked butt when she’s standing up holding onto the edge of the bathtub as she watches the water fill it up is so ridiculously cute you need to kiss it (yes, actually kiss her ass!). And all of this is just happening in here night after night with people just naively walking by outside having no idea!

Sometimes I just have to out and tell people, like my sister Marie when we’re on the phone, “My God, you have to see this baby. Like right now.” Of course it’s impossible for her to crawl through the phone line. But I really have thought that if she knew what Kate was doing at that moment and how great it was, she’d get on a cross-country plane immediately.

I guess it’s just in my nature to want to share great stuff. In the middle of an amazing massage I spend half the time thinking of how I have to get Mark to get a massage just like it. And part is just the exuberant braggart in me who wants to shout about Kate from the rooftops. “Amazing baby here! She giggles! She points at random things and says, ‘Ba ba!’ She has soft blonde hair with little wispy curls! She puts her head down on your shoulder to hug you! She says ‘baby’ like a CD that’s skipping and it’s so damn silly and funny and sweet you’d just love it, I know!”

Sometimes when I get swept up I call Ellen to see if she wants to come over last minute for dinner. Of course it’s in the guise of wanting to see her and the kids. And sure I do want to see them. But I also just really want them to see Kate.

Anyway, most of the time the last-minute dinners don’t work out, or we’re just in our day-to-day family routine. So what happens when it’s just us is that Mark and I marvel to each other. Sometimes Mark will just look at me with his eyes wide and say, “That baby.” And I know he means, “My God she is so staggeringly amazing. We are so lucky. How could we ever love anything quite so much?” Word to that, Dada.

And thankfully we do get opportunities to see other people who genuinely share our excitement. The mother’s group mamas totally appreciate all the other mamas’ babies. We thump each other on the backs regularly about the wonder of each other’s small beings. It’s nice.

And of course, when we do get to see grandparents, we get to connect with those who are similarly afflicted with The Crazy Love Glee. In Kentucky Peggy told us how Kate held her arms out for Gary (a.k.a. Papa) to pick her up, and I know he must have just melted. In that church-basement-sharing kind of way, it feels good to be around others who share our disease.

I guess all this is one reason why having Kate makes me want to spend the holidays with extended family more than ever. I’m so excited about The Miller Family Thanksgiving (TM) just because we can all hang out and delight in Kate and Gavin and family and love and luck.

And after two years of Mark unsuccessfully jockeying for the whole “starting our own family traditions at home” thing, this year he wins. We’ll stay in California for Christmas. It’s not that I won’t be happy being with Mark and Kate. Just the opposite really. I’ll be giddy with joy and love and pride and thankfulness. It’s just that sometimes when I feel that way I wish I could have all my family and friends experiencing it right there with me, and cheering me on from the audience.

1 Comment »

One Comment on “HMS Pinafore, Kate, and a Mama’s Fierce Love”

  1. 1 Jacqueline said at 2:48 pm on October 13th, 2006:

    I am totally with you on that fierce mama love stuff. Sometimes it’s all I can do not to start licking my daughter’s face or slurping her up through a straw. It’s irrational but what can you do?

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