November 30, 2011


When I found out I was pregnant last New Year's Eve it changed me. I was no longer just Tonia. I was responsible for someone other than myself and I embraced it with the warmest of hugs (mixed with a smidge of "OH MY HELL...I'M GONNA BE A MAMA?"). All I needed that New Year's Eve was Nate's smile and his hug all full of excitement and I was in. Still scared witless but ALL IN.

There were obvious changes that came with pregnancy like cankles and a fat neck but I tried to take all that in stride because what are you gonna do? Right?

Then came July 22. I didn't realize I was going to meet her when I woke up that morning. And then the sweet nurse put her little face near mine and our eyes locked and in that moment I literally transformed. I think to truly understand how much I changed you'd have to know me before Clementine. I didn't really express a lot of emotion. To put it bluntly, more than one friend referred to me as "dead inside". Sad but true. I'm the girl that never cried at sad movies, never understood what it felt like to cry out of happiness, and absolutely never lost control in public. EVER. Not because I thought it was bad or inappropriate but because I certainly didn't like feeling so exposed. I felt the emotion to be certain...but never so impulsively that I couldn't trap it in my head and not allow it to seep any other place.

Then along came my beloved Clementine. The best way I can describe what happened to me is that she cracked me wide open. I suddenly felt so vulnerable and happy and honored and freaked out to be her mom and I was literally blind-sided with every emotion imaginable. Some I was familiar with and others I'd only heard about. That first week in the hospital was such a roller coaster of mostly unexplored ups and downs. I'd sit in my hospital room attached to the breast pump and sob. Sometimes I would sob because I was happy to know her; finally. Other times I'd sob out of fear. Just thinking about all the mistakes I'd have to watch her make or the heartbreak of seeing another kid be mean to her.

So the uncontrollable crying has stopped. But what is left is a vulnerability. I'm now someone who cries or feels emotional several times a day. I hear "Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire" and think about celebrating Christmases with Clementine and Nate and, oh, there is a lump in my throat. I look at my unfinished dining room and imagine dinners and holidays and birthdays spent there and, yup, here it comes. I look over at Nate kissing her on the cheek and I can hardly avoid blubbering right into my brussel sprouts.

So there you have it. I'm forever changed. Forever. And I absolutely love the new me.
My two favorite sets of lips. And yes, I almost lost it in my brussel sprouts.


Kristy said...

My mom made this same observance in me. She said growing up and into adulthood, I rarely cried. But as soon as the kids came my faucet of emotion was turned on. It is a forever change. I cry at every sentimental moment. Those kids reach deep into us and we are definitely never the same! Loved the post and hope you are well.

Middle-aged Momma said...

I feel the same way. Lily opened up a flood of emotions that I didn't know existed before she slipped into my life. Loved this post, and as usual, love you and love Clementine even more for helping her momma find her true self. She's a darlin'.

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