Earlier this week, Ace and I paid yet another visit to our favorite local veterinary emergency room, where she was diagnosed with a corneal ulcer and GIARDIA ARRRGGGHHH. Coincidentally, I had spent the better part of my day going round and round with various medical professionals in an ultimately successful but deeply frustrating attempt to get a particular medication. So I was a little fried when I found out my baby girl had these uncomfortable ailments. I felt like I had failed her; I had not accurately registered her discomfort. And isn’t that a mama’s job?
Later, I relayed this harrowing tale to my own mother via text. She responded with the kind of unique comfort given by someone who has nurtured you through the pains of your early days. And then she told me, “It’s not easy being a mom.”
Of course she is right. It feels as if there exists a raw nerve between us, and every bump and bruise she suffers shoots down that axon and into me tenfold. And this is not easy. It is not supposed to be. That kind of reflexive empathy was designed to motivate caregiving and protection.
It has another purpose, or at least another complementary side: Mamas feel love and joy tenfold as well. Jefe and I took Ace to Duboce Park for the first time yesterday. The first half of our courtship included looking out his apartment window onto this park at the menagerie of dogs frolicking off leash. We returned with our own dog, and it was as if we had stepped directly into the world we once admired. Ace was a total ace, meeting all the dogs, playing fetch with her new Chuck-It, trotting over to me with a big doggie smile when I asked her come get some water. It was unconscionably warm, and every canine and human was friendly and drunk on the good weather.
Imagine my tenfold excitement. Imagine my exponential happiness. Mamas get a pretty good deal.