It's been a while, I know. Life has gotten in the way of my laptop time, which really, is the way it should be. But today I simply must take a few minutes to reflect on my life as a Mama. Seven years ago, my big boy came into our world and changed my life forever. Not once since the moment he was born have I been able to imagine my life without him. And suddenly, my life before his arrival seemed so empty, so simple, a bit shallow actually. It's amazing to me to feel that way, but it's true.
When asked what their biggest or best accomplishment in life is, many Mamas say their children. On one hand, it seems like a pathetic answer doesn't it? How can it be that this other person, along with his siblings are what defines your life as complete, or successful? How can it be that all of a sudden, your own accomplishments in your career or your relationships or your own personal development seem miniscule compared to the moment this child entered your life and the days and the years since? I might not ever really know the answer, but it's true. It may not seem like it from the outside, but I live a life that is my own choosing and that I very much feel in control of despite the fact that the logistics of my days revolve around my children and my family. I have passions and concerns and interests outside of my children's, I have hobbies outside of theirs, I have a money-making career to get back to when I'm ready. But absolutely, unbelievably, his pain and struggles feel like my own. His joy and happiness brings me more pleasure than anything I can imagine doing myself. And oddly, I feel more pride in even his small successes than anything that I have ever accomplished on my own. I wonder if the scales will tip back as time goes on...?
There have been struggles for sure and I know there will be more to come. My darkest days came in the weeks and years following his birth. Those are days that I will never forget, but I think I am stronger because of them. I have been criticized silently and otherwise since becoming a Mama and waking up with that knowledge each day is a struggle for me. It has altered my perspective on all things parenting. Often times, it has made me feel less secure and has added a sadness that wasn't there before. When kids are part of the equation, the questions seem bigger, the stakes are higher, the consequences more serious and the pain is deeper. I also now have perspective that I wouldn't have otherwise, and for that I am grateful. I choose my words carefully and sometimes I force myself to bite my tongue. I have a stronger grasp on who I am and what I value, what I do and do not have control over. I'd like to think that I am a stronger person, a more compassionate friend and a better Mama for pushing through and finding good on the other side.
I can't help but also reflect on the gift this boy has given to us as a family. Papa and I were together for many years before we married, and spent several years as a married couple before kids came into the picture. In many ways, I felt complete. We were happy together, successful in our own careers, financially stable. Life was good. And suddenly, this baby came into our lives and we were a family. I never thought it was possible at the time, but I love my husband more today than I did the day that I married him, largely because of what we have become, what we have accomplished and created together, and because of the amazing children that we get to wake up with each morning. What an incredible gift, I am so lucky to be here. So today I wish my boy a very Happy Birthday and thank you for everything you have brought to my life. You truly are the greatest gift a Mama could ever dream of.
...and now back to life...The kitchen sink is clogged, my bed needs to be made, breakfast crumbs need sweeping and groceries need buying...
PS, isn't this photo great? Little brother took it. I like to think there's some interesting perspective there, that he focused the camera on his most important subject--his big brother and best friend. That's a whole 'nother post I'd like to write someday, about the powerful friendship between these two boys--it's another surprising gift that parenthood has given me.