Sorry for the lazy posting but, lately, I have been busy gettin' my Mama Stripes.
Maybe it's because I'm a young mother, but before recently, I never thought about the Mama Stripes that would come after the first ones. The Mama Stripes that came with pregnancy and childbirth and the first year. I gained a Mama Stripe when I said "yes" to bedrest for six or seven weeks. I gained a Mama Stripe when I said "yes" to an emergency c-section. I gained a Mama Stripe the first time I slapped butt paste all over Max's bright red booty. I gained a Mama Stripe the first time I clipped Max's tiny nails. I gained a Mama Stripe the first time I held Max while typing a thirty page paper. I gained a Mama Stripe the first time Max ate real food. I gained one the first time he crawled. The first time he kissed. The first time he walked. All of those milestones are all Mama Stripes.
But! Mama Stripes don't end after the first-year milestones so often discussed with women in their twenties. Mormon women have a rep for getting married pretty young, but of my friends, I only know one girl my age who has two children. True, I didn't grow up with many LDS girls, but the ones I did grow up with, if they're married, are either married with no children or married with one child. And most of the friends I've had during my life aren't married and probably aren't engaged, either. Meaning, if motherhood is brought up with most of my friends, we don't talk about much more than pregnancy and newborns or, y'know, the "you're crazy" remarks they like to tease me with. So! Since I never really talked about it, I am constantly amazed at how many Mama Stripes I haven't earned yet.
I mean, I have five or six poison control Mama Stripes under my belt. I have a hospitalization Mama Stripe, too! I have a Mama Stripe that came when I found Max pulling out Q-tips and sticking them in his ear. A Mama Stripe for drawing on walls. For tantrums in public! This week alone, I gained Mama Stripes for our first Mommy-and-Me road trip, for feeding buffalo carrots, for finding my child in an upstairs loft when he'd been sitting next to me in a downstairs bedroom forty-five seconds before, and for surviving (no, loving!) Max's first movie in the theater (complete with popcorn, Skittles, and Sprite).
And I'm not sure why, but the past few days I've just been so happy when I think about all the Mama Stripes I have coming for me. The Mama Stripes that involve two children. The Mama Stripes that involve first bike rides and first bubblegum and first family car and first house and first shared nursery and so many other stripes that I can't even think of any right now. And all I can hope is that each Mama Stripe comes with as much love for subsequent children as it does for the first. Because I want to get those Mama Stripes over and over again so that, when I'm old and wrinkly and half insane, I can look back at photographs and little stories I've written about our family along the way and think about that time thirty or forty or fifty years ago when I got a Mama Stripe from one of my seven (or three or six or eight) children and smile at the thought that I'm covered in hundreds of thousands of Mama Stripes just as lovely as the one I'm remembering.
So I guess I'm saying that, for me, there is nothing better than a Mama Stripe.