Come Sunday I will celebrate my 28th year as a mother. That is a number that I can hardly wrap my mind around. All through my life being a mom is something I always wanted to be. I am not sure why the exact reason was,either. It has always been something I have felt I was meant to be. I had always hoped I would be good at it. I know looking back, there is SO much I would do differently. I imagine most of us would feel that way. I can say without a doubt that I could not love anything more than being a mom. It hasn’t always been easy. Sometimes it breaks your heart in so many pieces. But, it as always been worth it!
I remember holding my very first baby for the first time. When you are not a parent yet, you get told a lot that nothing is like having, holding your own. Truer words were never spoken. When that first child is born, everything changes. You are suddenly responsible for someone other than you. Someone is at first, totally dependent on you. For care. To be kept safe. For unconditional love.
I remember late nights, cuddles, sleeping babies on my chest that I couldn’t bare to stand up and put to bed. I remember baby smells, first smiles, fists around my finger, first steps.
The first one was so easy and did so much early. We decided to try for number two and it happened almost right away. If you are a reader of my blog at all, you probably know that that is my son with a disability. Things as a mother suddenly became something I did not expect. We have had many difficult times, many wonderful times. When he was young, we were not sure how much he would talk, what the future would be. I will never forget when he was 4, and we were having a tough day, I was sitting on our steps with him in my lap, tears streaming down my face, and he reached up, touched my cheek and for the first time, said ‘Mom”. That is what being a mom is all about. Moments that can make your heart swell for the love of your child.
Having a child with a disability is not easy, but it did not stop us from wanting more. #3 was another son. Unique and wonderful in his own way! I had once said I would never have an odd number of children as I did not want one being a middle child! So,between that and a real yearning for a girl, #4 was soon on HER way! Our family was complete with the birth of our daughter!
There are the moments that your heart can break, too. The very worst one was having to tell them I had cancer. Never in my life did I expect to have to shatter the safe world of my young children. I would not wish that on anyone. Although that was 12 years ago, I remember every.single.moment. I knew you could lose a parent young, as both my husband and I lost our dads so young. I knew that your safe and happy world could change in a moment. Never did I want to have to change my children’s world in that way! But that moment came where I had to tell them. Nothing prepares you for the moment your 10 year old daughter asks you if you are going to die. How do you answer? I told her the truth as I knew it and felt it at the moment. I told her no! I had wished I could grab them all, and hold them and make that moment never happen.
When my youngest was 16, their last grandparent died. They never knew their grandfathers, obviously. Which is too bad, I know they would LOVE them! I know they would be proud of them! When I told the youngest about her last grandmother, she said, “I don’t have ANY grandparents!”
At 16! She would have none at her graduations, none at her wedding, none just to be there to visit, to talk to. It was moments like this as a mother, that my heart broke again…these moments were so hard. I could hug them, love them, talk to them…..while at the same time feeling inadequate and lost. Sometimes you can’t fix it at all and those times as a mom are tough!
Saturday I will get the honor to watch this child graduate from college. The pride I already feel is immense. I hope to think I did something right to help bring her to this point!
ALL of my children have given me so much joy. They are all such unique individuals. I am proud to say that they each have always had a kind heart. I love the people they are! I loved them as little people! I love them all grown up! (Although, as most would tell you…that happens much too fast!)
Even though I won’t have my mom here on Mother’s Day this coming Sunday, I will celebrate her and all the moms in my family that came before her. I will celebrate being a mom, myself, knowing it was the hardest, best, most amazing thing I have ever done in my life!!