I spend a good portion of my day wondering what in the world I have done to deserve the privilege of being this boy’s mama. From the day he was born I have been pondering what good deed I could have committed in order to be rewarded so handsomely. That’s the funny thing about babies. From their first moments in this world they have a way of making you wonder how you ever lived before them, while simultaneously trying to figure out just what you did that brought you to such a beautiful place. You are instantly catapulted into the strongest, most instantaneous love you have ever felt, and you move forward, through the sleepy newborn phase and wake up in toddlerhood, wondering just how the hell you got here with this walking, talking opinionated KID, and why the heck it seems like just yesterday that they were placed warm & slippery on your chest for the first time.
And sure, there is a great deal of responsibility that comes along with being a mama. A crushing amount of responsibility. (you mean I’m supposed to provide for their every need, keep them safe, AND make him into a productive member of society?!!!) But I’ll let you in on a little secret - it is the most joyful responsibility on this planet. I have never been entrusted with such an important job in my life until him. I have never thrown myself so completely into my “work.” And never have I felt the level of confidence and self-assurance that I do being his mother. I don’t think another person on this planet can offer him the lessons and experience and knowledge I can. After all, we were made for each other, him and I.
I am absolutely, 100% positive that I am doing something right. Look at him. He is so cute it actually physically hurts sometimes. I mean, I can literally explode. But he is smart too. And kind. And FUNNY. And I don’t think I can even begin to take credit for all of that. But somewhere inside of him is a piece of me. And he is 100% good, so I must be doing something right, here.
The tiniest things in the world really do bring the most joy. The most rock-me-to-my-core-capture-my-entire-soul-I-would-do-anything-for-you type of joy. I swear, I haven’t smiled or laughed as much in my entire life, as I have these past 22 months. And even with the responsibility of raising a man (and not just any man - but a GOOD man), I would never trade one day of this wonderful journey we are walking together. Time and again I realize that while I am teaching him numbers and colors and even bigger things like friendship and empathy, he really is the one teaching me. All of the wisdom and humility in this world is packed into 32 lbs of cute, and I am so damn lucky to take it all in every day.
And while I may not hold all of the answers on how to be the best parent, the one thing in this world I am sure of is that while I might not have done anything spectacular to deserve the joy that comes in being his mom, I know that he is the most spectacular thing I have ever done.
On Becoming a Parent
The single most defining moment of my life thus far has got to be becoming a parent. There is something special about being a sole provider for one of these tiny humans. Bringing a life into this world, for me, was entered into under careful consideration, and extreme excitement. Whether you want it to or not, creating life is going to change you. Some people talk sort of negatively about this change: ‘you aren’t going to be fun anymore!’ ‘forget about spending time with your friends and husband once that little thing comes along!’ ‘kiss sleeping at night goodbye - you won’t be sleeping in for the next 18 years!’ - I don’t see it that way. I mean sure, your identity changes when you have a baby - it would be a gross mistake if it didn’t, but I would like to think that I am still very much the same girl I was before Jackson, only better.
I have felt empowerment - I grew a freaking human, and worked tirelessly to give birth to him (drug free, too - you better believe I am proud of that). Not once in my entire life have I felt such a sense of confidence and pride. I feel confident in providing for his needs as well. Perhaps the most poignant change I have seen in myself is in feeling. I have noticed that I just…feel…far more intensely than I have ever felt in my life. Don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t some disconnected leper before him, I have loved people, loved life, loved many things, but NEVER have I loved like I have since I became a mother. This love is on a whole different level, completely untouched and full of such raw emotion that I never even knew could exist before him. My heartstrings are constantly being tugged on, and while 99.999% of the time it is the best feeling in the world, it can also be a scary kind of love. The kind of love that makes me know that if anyone tried to harm one hair on his head, I could go ballistic. The same kind of love that makes me so deathly afraid that something might happen to him - something unspeakable, and if it EVER came to that, I know that without a doubt, there is no way I could go on living. No words will ever do the way I feel about him any sort of justice. It is because of these emotions that I have been able to perceive the world we live in as a better place than before, and it is definitely because of these emotions that I have such strong hope for the future - for his future. So while I have been forever changed by becoming a mother, I know that I have changed for the better. So while I may not sleep as much as I used to, or maybe don’t get to go out to a bar until the wee hours of the morning every weekend (so over that, by the way), I still hold the same defining values, and have been blessed with newer, better experiences. I like to think of this change as growth, in every since of the word. Ever since the first instant I knew that he was a reality he has taught me how to be a better person, to admit fault and to know when I need to ask for help. I am doing important work here - probably the most important kind, and I feel so damn lucky that I get to be his mom each and every day for the rest of my days on this earth. He really is the best change I have ever seen in myself.