She has got my back. Every time, without question, without fail.
I spent the day with my mom and Rio yesterday. We went to Salem for lunch and had our portraits taken by a guy who specializes in pregnant belly shots. The portrait session was a mixed experience; Rio was not into it, the guy was great with me and less creative with my mom and daughter in terms of how he did the shoot. Still thinking it was a good investment, as I expect to get some gorgeous photos out of the deal that I can frame and hang on my walls, which will take up less space and be lovlier than a belly cast.
The day with my mom: priceless.
At the shop where the portraits were taken, I had a chance to try on a variety of baby slings and wound up buying one that works the same way as Moby Wrap but is made of a Guatamalan fabric similar to a Maya Wrap. I’m thrilled with it.
In the store, my mother was somewhat distant about the purchase, kind of raising her eyebrows as I went through the awkward gymnastic routine to tie Rio onto my back as practice. The process wound up involving five adults and two children, one of whom burst into tears as her mom (the sling vendor) showed me how to do it. I almost didn’t buy it because I was embarassed to spend rather a lot of money on something my mom obviously did not like in front of her.
An hour later, as we drove to family dinner with Martin, my mother explained to him about the purchase in a way that made me wonder if she should go into business selling these things herself. She knew all about the crunchy credentials of the fabric, described in detail the woman who sold it to me and how impressive that woman’s knowledge of baby wearing was, spoke glowingly of the color pattern I chose and my savviness in getting a discount.
And I remembered that she always does this. When I’d get in trouble at school as a kid I might get grounded or yelled at or given a disappointed look at home, but then she’d go into the school and fight for me like a trial lawyer. It’s been a pretty important part of my life, knowing that I can rely on her first to be there for me and second to defend me against any threat or criticism from outside our family.
I hope I can do as well by my kids.
Another, sort of related thing, is that we finally had a good talk about where/how I’m planning to give birth. I learned that her concerns are not at all what I thought they were. She doesn’t want me to have a medicalized birth because she thinks it will be safer – she wants me to have the baby close to her home because she wants to be as involved as possible in the process and felt last time that the home birth midwives I chose were very disrespectful to her and shut her out of the labor support role we had both wanted her in. One of them made a thoughtless error that resulted in my stepfather being out of the room at the actual moment of Rio’s birth, and my mom is still very hurt and angry that he missed it.
Once I realized what she wanted – to be part of the labor and birth – it was easy to communicate because I want that too.