Just call it like it is… from my breastfeeding cape to my sliding doors minivan, I am a mom. My reputation as a stylish, fun, and outgoing woman always came with a side of drool, diapers, whining, and now, as my girls advance into teen years, boyfriends.
At the age of fifteen I planned my first pregnancy. Craziness right?!? Not as outlandish as some might think. It was my way to make sense of this disjointed planet we live on. As many young girls do, I struggled with my identity, my purpose, and my ability to accomplish my dreams. I sought solace in motherhood, hoping to ease the discomfort I could not understand. Without all the tools in my box I started on a journey to build a household.
Eighteen years later my oldest daughter is now a young lady. She is b-e-a-u-tiful. She is smart, talented, and thoughtful. I look back at all the things I did right and the many things I could have done better. All in all, I am most proud that through trail, pain, and happiness, she and I have a strong connection. No matter what that girl goes through, she knows without a shadow of a doubt, she has a momma who loves her; not one who always agrees with her; not one who always condones all of her behavior; not one who placates her; but one who wants the best for her and will never give up on bringing about wholeness.
Beyond her I have raised my severely disabled son who has been the delight of my life. His happy go lucky smile and his loving spirit brightens everyones day. Most of the time he does not have a care in the world. He trusts that he is going to be well taken care of. He provides life, hope, strength, and love to all who come in contact with him. After fourteen years of diapers, seizures, and throw up, I still would not trade him for all the money in the world.
Then along came her. This little girl who thinks so far outside the box I can’t even fit her on my grid. After taking years of parenting classes, reading books on the subject, and inquiring from matured parents, she has challenged my very being to grow. I love her with all my heart and soul, this girl who can make me think more than my brain has capacity. She understands computer science, mathematics, and pokemon, all the while my internal mother board struggles to upgrade. With an outgoing personality, the word stranger isn’t even apart of her vocabulary. This fun, imaginative, and cute girl has captured my affections as well as my attention.
As my nurturing side consumed my being, I began to love those who struggled with their parental figures. I opened my arms and my home to many kids through the years. Some of these young people are now adults and even have their own families. One lady in particular has blended with our family to point we think of her as our own. She is sister, daughter, and friend. I have dedicated my life to her success in every way including financial, physical, and emotional. The love she reciprocates is unparalleled and I am honored to know such an amazing human being.
It was when I became a step-mother that I truly knew what it was to lay down my life for others. My children are easy to love. They are mine. Flesh and blood unites through anything, however those we love out of choice can be changed. I imagine this love to be much like those of adoptive parents. I get to on purpose care for others I did not bring into this world. I get to carve out a special place in my heart for them to call home. I look at them with the same affection I do the others. Not because I have to, but because I have given them power over my love. They have my devotion, my commitment, and my love which never waivers. When It comes time to share them with their mother, I do not find myself thinking out of sight out of mind. On the contrary I feel a hole, a loss, and a longing to have them in my presence.
Both are girls. The oldest has a strong personality. She is compassionate, friendly, and opinionated. She has a great sense of style, good taste in food, and a heart of gold. Though she, like most children from broken homes, wishes her parents were still together, she still loves, honors, and respects both of them and their new counterparts. Through sharing homes, sharing attention, and sharing lifestyles, this girl puts in her all and comes out on top.
Her younger sister is equally fantastic. She is creative in every way. She looks at the world full of black and white, but carefully adds subtle shades of grey. Yet, it is when she adds color she truly astonishes with articulate, artistic thoughts. She is full of wit, full of knowledge, and full of determination. She is not the social butterfly her older sister is. She craves one-on-one time which requires intentionality. She flourishes the most when she is given the attention she needs to express herself.
Now that I am much older than when I began, I find myself delightfully happy to have started the process all over again. With yet another girl, my life feels complete. I find myself with sensations of euphoria as I look into my baby’s eyes and see such wonder. I feel confident in my skills as a mother. I enjoy and embrace the ups and downs life brings my way. As I hold this tiny creature, bliss fills my being. She was hard fought for. After conquering my fears of raising any more children, we saved for a vasectomy reversal. Next came miscarriage after miscarriage after miscarriage. Finally, my cup was full only after enduring the nine months of pregnancy’s glows and hormonal blows. Consequently, for the last four months I have been suffering with enormous amounts of postpartum joy.
Through it all, my carefree, spontaneous, thrill seeking side still exists. I did not surrender my dreams, my ambitions, or my goals for my children. They are not a burden or a dead weight around my ankle. They are right there with me. Through thick and thin, through fire and storm, my children – all of them – teach me, love me, and give me courage. We do family well. We support each other, lift up each other, and seek the best for each other. We celebrate individuality, praise each other’s giftings, and strive for unity. Out of humility we serve each other and forgive shortcomings.
I am not afraid I will not arrive. I already have, and I am bring my entourage with me.