Babies come with a whole ton of responsibilities.
There’s the obvious poop and feeding and things. But any small pet needs that kind of care. That’s basic maintenance.
Babies require something else.
They demand documentation.
If you follow my overachieving mother’s philosophy, that includes recording all of your “firsts,” keeping a log of the many cute things you’ve said and done, a “baby” book (that, no lie, is so extensive it ends with a page about your wedding day), a box of artwork, a binder of birthday mementos, twelve (12!) albums of photos, and eeriest of all, bits of your hair and a few teeth (ew mom).
The macabre aside, all of that is a whole frickin lot of writing and recording and saving.
So, my son has… a baby book (and a pretty crammed Instagram feed, let’s be fair). Yet, even though I whittled the recording and saving down to the bare minimum, I still managed to drop the ball. Two years later, the baby book is still mostly empty (and still wrapped in a plastic cover).
I’ve tried making up for lost time. I sheepishy pulled the nurse aside at the pediatrician’s office and asked for his height and weight records. I spend late nights Googling how much things cost way back in ye olde 2011 (that’s a section in the book! Can you believe it?).
But inches and pounds and the price of a postage stamp aside, I didn’t expect an “All About Mommy” section. It’s a huge, impatiently empty page. And I have no idea what to write.
The obvious stuff is, well… too obvious. Former teacher turned painter? Even if I change vocations by the time he’s old enough to know what a “vocation” is, he’ll probably know that much about me.
Do I list my own brief history?
My likes and dislikes and interests and hobbies?
My stance on specific political issues?
There seems to be a bunch of stuff that it’s likely he’ll already know about me, and then a bunch of stuff that he won’t know but won’t care to know. And very little in between the two.
The fair truth of it is that I’m drastically overthinking this blank page. I could easily scrawl, “She loves you and Daddy very very much!!! xoxo!!!” and call it a day. Who knows if he’ll ever even crack the spine. But there feeeels like a lot wrapped up in this title. And if there’s anything I’m good at, it’s feeling things.
(Not like that, perv.)
All About Mommy.
It’s self-definition and identity stuff. How do I summarize myself?
But it’s also legacy stuff. How do I want my child to remember me?
Those questions are a little frightening.
If you, being your adult self, were rooting around in Mom’s attic and found a dusty pastel-colored book full of baby info, what would you hope it would say about her? What would you be interested to read?