I was married...happily. I was plenty healthy. We both had good jobs. A nice little three bedroom with a big yard in a small town. And I had said I wanted to be a mother...someday. But I was shocked and scared. Terrified! So much so that I cried quite a bit over the next couple of weeks.
Darin was elated. Over the moon.
One day not long after we found out, I broke down and cried and cried in front of him as I expressed my fears and doubts. I didn't know if I had it in me to be a good mother. I doubted myself because I knew how huge this was, how ginormously important a responsibility this was and how very much our lives would undoubtedly change the minute that baby took his first breath in the world.
How do you ever really feel READY for something like that?
He assured me that I would be a wonderful mother. He just knew it. So I dried my tears, put on my big girl panties (literally...I gained 50 pounds with that pregnancy!) and adopted a Yes, I can! attitude.
I read all the books, What to Expect When You're Expecting (and every other pregnancy/parenting book that had ever been published) took all the Lamaze, Parenting and Baby CPR classes...Did everything I could think of to prepare myself for motherhood. I was going to be the best mother anyone had ever seen and there would be no surprises because I would be fully educated and ready for whatever motherhood threw at me, darn it!
I had always suspected God had a sense of humor and motherhood removed any doubt that still existed in my mind about it.
I loved that baby boy more than I ever dreamed I would. Just looking at him brought me to tears. He was so beautiful and precious and just...perfect. Absolutely perfect. Heaven sent.
But motherhood? As beautiful as it is? Is hard. Damn hard.
The diaper changing/toddler days were tough...the lack of sleep, lack of showering, lack of going to the bathroom alone time, lack of so many everyday things we take for granted. But my God, their precious little faces when they smile at us and put their little hands in ours, fall asleep on our chests, or look at us with big blue eyes and say, "I love you, mommy" with their sweet, melodic, angelic voices...
Life just doesn't get any better than that. Those are the moments that make it worth living.
We wipe away their tears when they cry, put band-aids on their boo boos, rock away their fears and disappointments, and soothe them to a peaceful sleep with a bedtime story and a lullaby at the end of each day.
Motherhood is Love defined.
The only greater one I know is that of Christ's Love for us.
And it never changes. Never falters...No matter what they do or say or how much they disappoint. It doesn't change when they become defiant, challenging adolescents who test our patience, sanity and all around good graces on a daily basis, week after week after week.
Being a parent is not for the weak or faint of heart. It takes strength, persistence, determination and a relentless spirit to raise a child up in the world. And sometimes it feels like nothing we do or say or try is right, is getting through to those stubborn, strong-willed minds.
We may feel like throwing in the towel and saying, "Do whatever you want to do! It's your life, not mine, and I'm tired, darn it!"
But it's not that easy or that simple. God gave us a job to do. Perhaps the single, most important one anyone has ever been asked to do. Because He knew we had that extra special something within us that could get the job done.
And one day, not so far away, those little people we were entrusted with will be big people who will, hopefully and God-willing, look at us with great love and respect and say (or at least just think) something like this...
"Thanks, Mom. Thanks for teaching me right from wrong and for never giving up on me during those years when I was a little pain in the ass. Because although I thought I already knew everything there was to know about life back then, I really didn't know much at all. I can see that now...Thank you for helping me see and for raising me with love and perseverance. I needed it more than I knew."
That is the goal we must never give up on attaining as we trudge through these often stormy waters of this difficult, challenging, amazing, life-altering, beautiful thing called motherhood.