Ya’ll, the final season of Parenthood is on Netflix, and I am a sobbing mess.
When a few of my family members started watching the show as it aired I just couldn’t get in to it, despite the reprisal of a Lorelai Gilmore character, I could not handle the constant arguing and the characters making awful decisions.
So 3 years after a pitiful attempt of watching season one, I picked it back up while postpartum with our sweet little Anna. Because binge watching is totally part of having a baby. I don’t know if the seasons got better as they went on, or if I just felt closer to the Braverman family, but the longer I watched, the more I could see the light, love, and integrity that shown through the imperfect characters and constant bickering.
I am finally getting around to watching the final season now that it is available on Netflix and I literally cry during every episode. Today I finished episode 100 “How Did We Get Here”, and the entire episode is heart wrenching, but the last scene in particular is what stuck in my mind.
The women of the Braverman family each pen a letter on motherhood to the first expectant granddaughter, Amber. Their letters offer some of the deepest truths about motherhood, and celebrate life and motherhood.
My misty eyes were glued to the screen as I was soaking in these tv mom’s advice. It was as if they wrote the letters to me personally. Then the tears quickly turned to sobbing as Camille tells Amber, “Life is short, you cannot know how impossibly fast it goes by. So just enjoy this baby. Cherish this time, cherish every minute of it.”
You are a brave and wonderful mama. As you begin your journey I have 3 things to share with you.
A heartbreaking love
When you see your child for the first time your heart will likely skip a beat. It will swell with love much like the time you first heard the sound of your child’s heartbeat. As you hold your baby in your arms, you will realize you love this tiny piece of you more than you have ever loved anyone or anything in your life. You heart will never go back to its normal size, but rather continue to swell more with each day. It is truly a fierce love.
But…soon after those first breath-taking moments the shoe will drop, and you will understand a fear you have never felt before. Along with a deep love comes a care you have never known, a love and a fear that is heart breaking and overwhelming. You will want to take every effort to protect your child from harm, and lead them to still waters. Suddenly you will relate to Marlin from Finding Nemo, willing to travel the whole ocean to ensure the safety of your little one. As scary at this fear is, know that when channeled prudently it is one of your mama superpowers.
A selfless freedom
As you go forward, you will make mistakes, you will get tired, and often feel a mess. You may even feel like you can no longer control life as you did before. But my advice is to lean in. The job you have taken on is a noble task, worth every heartache and sleepless night. There may be days that you feel you have lost your mind, but this is evidence that your mind is on someone other than yourself. This kind of selflessness is freeing. To release the singular concern for self that ties you in knots and instead let yourself be overwhelmed with care of another.
I promise moments will come where you feel you have given every ounce of yourself, and there is no you left. You would be partially right, you have given all of your self, but a tired mind and body at the end of the day does not mean there is no you left, it means you gave of yourself, that you put yourself into your work that day. Because raising a child is work, the job that never ends and that you do with no expectation of a return.
If a day gets hard, find ways to mentally and physically choose joy. Change things up, ask for help, spend some time taking care of yourself. Motherhood requires a kind of strength that many women don’t even know they’re capable of until they become mothers, and sometimes that means mustering the strength to take care of yourself.
Oh sweet young mama, know you are not alone. When you are confused, overwhelmed, or frustrated know that there are others who have gone before you, and want desperately to help lighten your load. They will remind you that there is always a new season coming and support you as you readjust and transition. It really is an amazing process to watch your child change, grow, and learn. These wise mamas will help you understand that being a mom is a learning process and each day is another opportunity to learn how to love your kiddo and yourself more.
You’re the perfect mama for your kid
As you hold your little one, you will soon realize your worth is not tied up in anything your child or you can do, make, or accomplish. It is innate in your being. Trust this as a mama, you are the very best mama for your child, and ultimately you are a child yourself, delightful in every way.
Most importantly you are your child’s greatest role model. Live a life you would desire for your kid. One where you chase dreams, find stability, overcome obstacles, seek true friendships, and realize you are loved.
Lastly, be patient with yourself, as much as with your child. Don’t rush to the next stage or hide from unpleasant moments. Press in when it is hard, take care of yourself, and try to cherish all the small joys.
I will end it the way I began. You are a brave and wonderful mama.
Mama since 2014
As I write this letter I realize that I am not that much farther into motherhood than Amber; this letter is written as much to myself as it is to her.
What would you say in your letter to the mother of the newest braver man addition?