may is for moms

I'm a little late to the link-up party due to an unexpectedly chaotic past couple of days, but I'm excited to be participating in the May is for Moms link-up! It's a fabulous three-part series to celebrate motherhood and this first series is an interview with myself.

1. Before you ever even had children, how did you feel about being a mother? I always wanted to be a mother, but it wasn't ever at the forefront of my mind like a lot of other people I know. It was always something distant that I knew I wanted to do at some point, though it was always something I wanted to do way in the future until I was in my early twenties. It was after trying and quitting, trying and failing, or no longer having the interest in so many of the other things I thought would be an essential part of my life that I realized how much being a mother was a part of me and how badly I wanted to do it. I wasn't one of those little girls who dreamed of one day being a mother but now, as a mother, the idea of being anything else is absolutely unfathomable.

2. Since becoming a mother, what is something that has happened that you never thought would? Everything. It really gave me a heavy dose of reality since I've always been a planner. And not just a laid-back planner, but an "I've got every detail taken care of, don't worry about it" planner. My entire pregnancy which was difficult at best, followed only by an even rougher delivery and recovery, and it taught me that you can't plan everything and sometimes you need to just let go and learn to adapt. When I think of future pregnancies down the road, I can honestly say my "this is how things are going to go" list is finally empty and I'm finally accepting that some things are okay to just wing it and take it as it comes. This spontaneous way of thinking coming from my brain? Well, I never thought it was possible.

3. Is being a mother less difficult, more difficult or exactly how difficult you imagined? This is a hard one to answer. Even though I was almost eleven years old when my sister was born and therefore the struggles and chaos of child-raising was never a secret to me, I could have never guessed how truly crazy some days can be or how daunting some tasks can be, or how fragile your heart becomes. I could have never imagined the sheer physical pain I feel as a mother when Ethan falls and scrapes up his knee, or the way I completely ditch my pacifist mantra the moment someone without kids asks "shouldn't he be doing such and such already?" It's a journey that consumes so much of you that by nighttime you're exhausted but at the same time, I have to say it's way less difficult than I could have imagined. Being Ethan's mother has been the first thing that has felt totally natural to me, where I feel in control and confident in being the kisser of boo-boos and knowing exactly what to do even when it's not a situation I've been in in the past. When I was pregnant, I worried how I would know when he was hungry or when to change him or what he needed when he cried. From the first moment I held him, I just knew and that just knowing is such a natural part of being a mother for me. Of course, there are those difficult days where my husband comes home from work to find dried split peas across the kitchen floor, a half-chewed apple rotting on the couch cushion, a puddle of drinkable yogurt across one of our cats, Ethan laying on the floor in a deafening protest against bedtime and me huddled up in the corner sobbing -- and those days are hard, so very hard, but the crazy part about motherhood is how the next day, they're not even a realistic memory.

4. What is your fondest memory of being a mother (so far)? This week, freshest is my mind is the way Ethan brings his "boo-boos" to me ("Ethan boo-boo knee," "Ethan boo-boo hand") -- many of which are sporadically staged, some of which are actually real -- and asks for a kiss. When I kiss them, he says "Ethan no more boo-boo" with the biggest smile on his face. The first time he did this, a result of a real boo-boo when he fell down at the park, I was a sobbing mess. "No more boo-boo, mommy," he said, as if this should have been the most obvious thing in the world. There was also the time at Target when the cashier asked Ethan where he learned all of his colors and he shouted "TOT SCHOOL!" with such excitement that every bit of my heart melted while the cashier sat confused. Or the first "love you, mommy" that came during a rare moment of uninterrupted snuggle time under the covers in my bed after what was a particularly rough afternoon.

5. If your children only learn one life lesson from you, what do you hope it is? My wish for my children is that they set out in the world knowing what it means to love with whole, pure, beautiful hearts and that they don't allow the outside world or society to lessen the value of the love they will learn growing up. What I mean by that is, that they know who they are is perfect, that they know I will love whoever they love. That they see people as people, not as religious beliefs or the lack thereof, not as skin color, not as any kind of orientation -- but people. That they know when you truly do your best and love with your whole heart, you can never really fail. That they are worth it, whatever it is they have their heart set on, no matter what is in their way.


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