I remember the moment I became a Mom like it was yesterday. It has been 7 1/2 years but I can recall the emotions, feelings and pure wonder at the thought that on that day, in that moment, I had received a title that I would carry for the rest of my life. It was amazing to me that in one single moment and with one small push you go from being a woman, daughter, wife, sister and friend to being a caregiver, a teacher, a friend, and a MOM.On that day, holding my son in my arms, and feeling my heart swell with love, I knew that motherhood was going to bring so much more to my life than I had ever expected.
I was never nervous about impending motherhood. For 9 months I never had anxiety or thoughts about if I’d be a good parent or not. This could be chalked up to the fact that I was 18, newly married, full of life and confident. However, I think it was a true sense of being connected with my body and realizing that I was born to be a mom. I always knew I wanted children and embraced the pregnancy and the whole roller coaster ride to my sons birth with pure joy. For that fearlessness, I am grateful, because it has carried me through 2 more pregnancies without anxiety and has brought nothing but peace that I have done the right thing for the right reasons.
Whenever Mother’s Day approaches I always try to stop and reflect what being a mom means to me. What this journey is all about and how I want to continue to pen these chapters in our book. For me, as I read all the words that have already been written it’s with great pride yet sadness that we have made it this far. I think of all the exhaustion that I’ve endured, the sleepless nights, the endless messes, the sacrifices, and the hurt. I re-live the joys of all the firsts, the tears of pride that come to my eyes whenever my kids accomplish the smallest of things and the endless laughs at their one-liners. Relished are the memories filled with time together making little imprints on their hearts that they will forever remember. These are the things I see in bold and crystal clear. These are the things I read first.
However, between the bold and underlined text there is always the fine print. The portion of the story that has to be told in order to make something complete. There is writing that is often filled with heartache, tears, sadness, disappointments, grief and moments that, as a parent, you have no idea what to do. In these times motherhood takes on a whole new meaning. Instead of play time and goofy songs you have to discipline and teach. I sometimes have to make decisions, that I know my kids will hate, for their own good. I have to make hard and difficult decisions that can have unknown consequences that could effect the whole family. I have to be the main hero and the villain in the story. I have to be the cheerleader and the player who is chasing them down at the 50 yard line. There is no perfect script or story and each chapter doesn’t end with happily ever after. Sometimes they end with doors in the face, screams of “I hate you” and temper tantrums. That’s part of what being a mother is all about.
I remember last year, when my mother n law suddenly passed away, my whole perception of the word MOM changed. In those last days I was overwhelmed at how much a mother could love her child. How I believe she waited for my husband to give her one last hug and kiss before drifting off to that place between life and death that eventually took her hours later. How a mom can die so bravely and only worry about the sadness it will bring to her boys. I often wondered back then, as I often do now, if I would have the same courage. I hope so. I also learned in the days following her death that as a Mom I would have to reach into the depths of my soul to find enough strength to tell my young children that their grandmother was gone. The excruciating pain that I had to endure while watching my children sob so violently with grief is a sound I will never forget and will never cease to cause me pain. In those moments, motherhood took every ounce of strength and fight out of me. It robbed me of my vision that things would always be relatively happy for my kids yet it taught me that life never gives us anything we can’t handle. A year later, I have seen the most resilient children embrace and learn about death in their own ways. I have seen a grandmother’s and mother’s love survive what death tried to take away. Motherhood doesn’t stop when the body fails. It is the glue that holds us all together and keeps us from falling apart. Motherhood is in the spirit of all things that will live on infinitely in our children and our children’s children. To me that’s truly amazing.
As my children get older, our world continues to change. They will trade in action figures for iPhones and their love for all things Disney will be replaced by the latest action flicks. Each year I am amazed at how much more they resemble young men. I hope that as a mother I can continue to teach them how to be a good man in a world so full of difficulty and stress. I hope they can learn to work hard and always fight for the little guy (even if they are the little guy). I hope they realize that they were my greatest miracle and that my life was truly changed through them. I hope someday when I am gone they will always look up at the sky fondly and know that there is nothing on this earth I would have rather done than have been their mom.
Today, as I’ve been writing this I can hear my 5 year old son singing Frozen songs in his sweet little voice, my 7 year old is running around in his ninja costume trying to fight off his imaginary foes, and my belly is moving and stretching all around as my new little boy patiently awaits his arrival in 3 short weeks. No, my Saturday mornings are not spent in peace and quiet with my coffee cup on my back porch. I rarely get to sleep in uninterrupted. I wake up to cereal all over the floor and a sink full of dishes but every day I remind myself that some day I will miss all of this. Someday, I will get that quiet coffee, that perfect sleep and the clean house and I know I’ll want nothing more than to go back to this day at this time. I’ll feel proud of who my sons will become, I’ll feel proud of myself for the job I did, I’ll love my husband even more for being my partner in our quest to raise good, quality men – but I’ll be a little bit sad. I might call them each on the phone just to hear their sweet voices or reminisce about all the cheerios I had to sweep up. They’ll likely roll their eyes and think their mom is crazy as a loon but I’ll feel better and they’ll know that there isn’t a person in the universe who loves them more than I do. So for me, when my time on this earth is ceasing, that is what I’ll know and feel -that loving my boys was the greatest gift of motherhood.
Have a Happy Mothers Day everyone!!