Sunday, September 15, 2013
16 years ago today I became a mother.
I know you’re waiting for the “And it was the best decision I ever made” blog post. This isn’t it.
When my husband and I decided to have a child, it wasn’t some epic moment of thoughtful and philosophical consideration of the impact of this decision on the world at large, it just felt right. We both wanted a child. Talk about arrogant and selfish. I want a child. Like, “I want a pony,” or “I want a convertible.” The entire phrase begins selfishly. “I want…” Well, you better get over that pretty quickly, because “I” won’t factor into much more after the APGAR test.
From that moment on it becomes about them and you are white water rafting. There are patches of chill smooth water where you never thought you could be this content and purely happy. But, let’s face it, that’s not usually why people go white water rafting. So, when the rapids hit, you trust your training will kick in and you’ll row together and know which waves to head into and which ones to ride over. And then while you’re enjoying your victory lap you round the corner and you’re in The River Wild, without Meryl Streep.
And your heart beats faster and you scream and swear and cry and try not to vomit. And remember, you booked this vacation, because you wanted to have a child. That’s right, we’re not in metaphor anymore.
So far the first 16 years of this raft ride has been relentless and exhilarating, shocking, gratifying, depressing, scary, tense, exhausting, thrilling, eye-opening, and the hardest and best thing I’ve done. And I’m not gonna lie or sugar coat it, there are times when I wish I hadn’t booked this vacation. They don’t last long, but I’m not going to Pollyanna this. It doesn’t mean I don’t love my kids, it simply means I’m not sure of myself.
That being said, it has also shown me myself. I’d still love a pony and a convertible, but I will give it all up for my kids. There are many things I will never experience in life (actual white water rafting is probably one of them). I will never be an accomplished actress or writer. I will never be 130lbs again. I will never be able to walk into a store and pay full price for a pair of shoes. I will never be a perfect mother, ever. But I will literally do anything for my kids. Including failing and getting up tomorrow and trying all over again.
I had no idea what I was getting into 16 years ago. I have no idea what the next 16 years holds. All I do know is that I still have to figure out what’s for dinner, check homework before bed, and put my life jacket on again tomorrow.