Maternal milestones

Last night we were at a neighborhood Christmas party when one of the neighbors I have never met walked up to Leta and me and asked how old she was. When I told him she was ten-months-old he asked if she was “walking all over the house” yet. I answered, simply, “No.”

He looked quite surprised and then continued, “Well, I guess she must be in that crazy crawling stage, huh?”

And when he said that it felt like a dagger went through my heart. I explained, “Actually, she isn’t crawling either. She has some sensory problems and refuses to put any weight on her legs.” And then I wanted to run out of that house, Leta pressed to my chest, and go hide with her under the covers in the bed.

It’s not that I am ashamed of the fact that she isn’t crawling. It’s just, people ask me all the time if she’s crawling yet, and I feel like I’m doing something wrong. I feel like it’s my fault, and while I know that’s not true, I keep wondering if there’s something I should be doing that I’m not doing. We see a physical therapist every week, and I work with her every day on her exercises. Still, it hurts me to hear her scream when I force her to move in ways she doesn’t like to move.

This is part of being a mother, I suppose: the constant nagging feeling of guilt and sorrow and joy and worry and unfettered elation, feelings that should not exist simultaneously but CONSTANTLY EXIST SIMULTANEOUSLY.

I have never been so alive, and yet, so on the verge of collapse.