Today I've been a mother for exactly one year. One year ago, I woke up at 6 a.m. with contractions that didn't stop. By lunch Graham came home and we headed for the hospital. I remember sitting in the car on the way there, wondering what Will would look like, excited to meet him and yet nervous that I had no idea how to be his mother. Apparently, he didn't mind having a total newbie for a mom, because he came anyway, and we've been figuring it out together ever since.
I had a lot of expectations for motherhood, and for myself as a mother. I've helped care for other people's children, so I knew how to change a diaper and I'd already developed a strong bounce-and-rock rhythm. But there were also so many things I didn't know and wasn't prepared for.
When I was pregnant, my brother and sister-in-law sent me a card with the sentiment, "Congratulations on having your world turned happily upside down." That phrase has become my favorite description of parenthood.
Becoming a mother has completely changed my life. My time, my to do lists, my thoughts, and my mood revolve around this little man who joined our family a year ago. It's hard, really hard sometimes, but it's so worth it.
I love being a mom.
I love making Will smile and laugh. Sometimes, I chase him down the hall and he laughs so hard that he falls over and can't crawl anymore. I have a constant buddy, and one who is a source of endless entertainment.
I love being able to comfort Will when he's hurt or sad. While I don't always love him clinging to my leg and whining, or waking up in the middle of the night, I love that when he's crying, he wants Mom. No one can put him to sleep as well as I can; no one can stop his tears the way I can. It's a great responsibility, but I love knowing that my son trusts me to comfort him and keep him safe.
I love watching my little Magellan explore and discover the world. I took him to the park last week and for the first time I really let him just crawl around in the dirt and grass. It was amazing to see in his eyes the joy and wonder at experiencing something for the first time. He was so intrigued by things that we as adults often ignore...like a bug crawling across the sidewalk. He helps me see the simple wonders of the world.
I love watching him figure things out. He's such a determined little man, and he won't give up. I love to see the grin he gets on his face when he's accomplished something difficult (like climbing up on the couch for the first time). Mama is as proud as he is!
Lastly, I love that Motherhood has made me appreciate my own parents so much more. I understand more and more each day what they sacrificed for me. When I rock a sick baby in the middle of the night, I think of how many times my parents must have done that for me. When I go to the store to buy diapers...again...I think about how much money my parents invested in me. When I sweep the floor for the third time in one day, I wonder when my mom lost count of how many messes she cleaned up.
But, as I look at my son, I also understand more and more WHY my parents chose to have a family. I know that what I do as a mother is of paramount importance. Every lesson I instill, every skill I help develop, every hug I give is building a human being who will be prepared to contribute to the world and be a light to humanity. There is no greater joy, no greater satisfaction, no greater accomplishment than seeing your own child grow.
So, happy birthday to the boy who brings me more joy than I knew I could hold.
And happy Mother's Day to the woman who exemplifies all I hope to be for my own children.