adventures of an american housewife in the south of france

On Becoming a Mom

Even though I stopped blogging over 2 years ago, I still check in on this space from time to time.  A few months ago I came across this post sitting in my drafts folder.  I wrote it about 2 months before Ramona was born and it was entertaining to see my thoughts reflecting the change that I was about to experience, especially now that I am a mom of two.  Those feelings of excitement and anticipation before becoming a mother for the first time are frightening, thrilling, and breathtaking.  I decided to share that post with you all today.   Aug/Sept 2012   "Do you think these Cutco scissors can cut through metal?"  This was the first thing I said to Michael last Tuesday morning as he opened his eyes to find me standing over him, holding a pair of large, shiny scissors.  For the last few weeks, the skinny metal toe ring that I had worn on my second toe for the last 8 years had been cutting into my swollen feet and it had gotten to the point where it was really uncomfortable.  Scratching, I moved the ring around awkwardly.  It was too late to try to pull it off.  My feet, which had been long and skinny my entire life, were now fat and red and angry. "No way.  You have to use the metal clippers in the toolbox."  Michael replied groggily, rolling over from one side to the other. I thought about it.  "But I think these scissors can cut through pennies and stuff." I began forcing the fat blades of the scissors into the minuscule place between the ring and my toe.  For months now I had been paranoid with an irrational fear that my feet were going to puff up beyond recognition, cut off all the circulation in my toe, and I would have to have my whole foot amputated.  That once seemingly ridiculous fixation was quickly starting to feel like a reality. "Nat, what are you doing? Are you trying to do this yourself right now?"  Michael asked, finally waking up.  I got more and more worked up as I desperately tried to wedge the scissors under the ring. "It's been driving me crazy all night!  I need to get it off!  Right now!"  I panicked.  I could almost hear Michael roll his eyes as he climbed out of bed and went to get the metal clippers from the closet.

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I'd been holding onto the idea of keeping this toe ring for no good reason at all.  I still remember the day I got it in Laguna Beach back in 2004.  How the smell of the Windex prickled my nose as the short, dark haired man sprayed my toe to get it good and greased up before forcing the ring over the bulbous top, down to the joint where it lay shining prettily.  I thought it was so cool to have this kind of toe ring, not the adjustable kind that you could get at Claire's and take on and off, but the more permanent kind that looked like it cost more than $4.  But now it was just another symbol of my youth.  A fun day at the beach 8 years ago that reminded me of the life of spontaneity I had once lived. I think I'd been trying to get through this entire pregnancy without taking off the toe ring, because I'd already had to get rid of one of these reminders of my youth much faster than I had anticipated. When the doctor casually mentioned during my 11 week ultrasound that I would have to remove my navel ring in order to see the baby properly, I had a small moment of panic arise within my chest.  I had been mentally preparing for the fact that I would need to remove the ring at some point - the hard earned piece of jewelry (a story for another time) that had adorned my stomach for 13 years - but I hadn’t realized it would need to happen so soon.  I had always pictured the event taking place with great fanfare - an official renouncement of my rebellious phase of life as I was now about to become a responsible mother!  But the moment happened quickly and quietly, with no fuss, under the watchful glare of my French doctor who probably wondered what the heck a 30 year old pregnant woman was doing with a belly button ring anyway. After that ultrasound appointment, I thought about putting the ring back in, but it seemed silly.  My belly button ring wearing days were over, but inside I still had the same stubborn and adventurous spirit that drove me to that piece of jewelry in the first place.  I didn’t need metal in my stomach to remind me of that. It's funny how we let certain things shape and define us, yet when they are gone so quickly they cease to matter.   The removal of my navel ring was a small price to pay to see our daughter's beautiful face.  It was a foreshadowing of the little, daily sacrifices Michael and I will make, eagerly, for her benefit in the years to come.

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"This is never going to work," I complained as Michael lined up the clippers, took one snip, and freed my toe.  I felt immediate relief as the ring fell off and I could scratch the skin that had been hidden underneath.  I rubbed the red indentation the ring left around my toe and breathed deeply.  Oh, finally, it was off and I wouldn't have to worry about it anymore.  But as I looked at the broken ring, I couldn't help but feel a little sad.  No, not sad, but nostalgic for something that had once meant so much.  The last little bit of rebellion that said to me, "hey, I'm different.  I'm cool." I turned to Michael.  "Well, that was it.  Now all my cool stuff is gone.  I'm officially a mom." But of course that's not true.  I still have my tattoo.

2 Responses to “On Becoming a Mom”

  1. Vivian Huffman says:

    I just read this as I was searching for your mustard potato salad recipe! How I miss your posts! . Because I don’t see you regularly, I always looked forward to getting a peek into your life, feelings and emotions of a certain moment or day. It’s a mom thing! I’ll never get enough of you! Love you sweetheart! And btw, you are an amazing mother! ❤️

  2. Leon says:

    Found this blog while traveling in Annecy and looking for things to do! Hope You’ve been well! Too bad you stopped blogging it was cool reading this blog!

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