I actually wrote this post a few days ago, but then the magic elves in my computer deleted it, and I didn’t know if I had it in me to do this a second time.
This post is not a celebration of my own mother–that’s already been done in such moving ways by so many people today that I thought I would leave it to them. No, this post is about the people who made me a mother.
Before I had kids, I had that perfect image in my mind. The white picket fence, the contented baby in the stroller, a happy, well-behaved toddler by my side. A dog loping happily beside me while happy 50s music played in the background.
Then I had kids, and the music in the background changed to heavy-metal garage band.
Motherhood is not this beautiful thing I envisioned.
It’s tears and it’s pain and it’s constant irritation and it’s vomit. Oh, and that’s before the kid is born. That part was just me.
Then you have that child, and it’s more tears, and more pain, and more vomit. It’s tantrums that start well before two, and last until that child is in Kindergarten. I just found a report conducted by the early intervention specialists on my son when he was ten months old, because he was a terror at daycare, but was fabulous at home–a much more placid baby than his sister had been. In it, the evaluator wrote, “You can’t change a Chewy.”
That line still makes me laugh, because she’s right. I can’t.
As much as I thought I wanted do-wop music to play in the background of my life, I’ve come to enjoy the heavy-metal garage band.
My life is insane, a whirl-wind of activity and noise and bright, flashing lights. It’s running around like a crazy person until I collapse in an exhausted heap. My life is so much more vibrant that what I had envisioned, and what I had planned.
Motherhood is not beautiful.
But it’s worth it.
When Monk had colic (of course she had colic–she was my first baby, and we had so little help, so why wouldn’t the universe give me a child who had, as my pediatrician put it, “The worst case of colic I’ve ever seen.”), I would look down at her screaming face, and try to remember what it was like the moment they put her in my arms. I won’t say it was love at first sight, because it wasn’t. It was more like I was meeting someone I’d known for my whole life. They gave her to me, and I remember thinking, “Oh, there you are.”
There you are.
I had been waiting for this little person, and not even known I’d been waiting. The same goes for her brother. Even after Monk was born, I felt this sense that someone was missing. So we got a dog. Still, someone was missing, so I got pregnant. (Yes, I was an idiot. Pregnant, with an sixteen month old and a puppy?)
And when Chewy was born, the doctor held him up and I looked at his little face, I knew he was it. Here was the missing piece, my beautiful, perfect little man. The last baby I would ever have.
I haven’t regretted my decision for one minute, because my family is complete.
My kids are not angels, but then, neither is their mother. Instead, they are lively and volatile, quirky and funny. I love Monk’s drive and her competitive spirit. I love how vibrant she is, and how everything is fantastic until that moment when the switch is flipped and everything is horrible. I have never met anyone who is as wildly exuberant as Monk is. She is smart and funny and amazes me every day of her life. When she plays soccer, I think she enjoys cheering on the sidelines as much as she enjoys playing. I know I can hear her over the yelling of the parents–and everyone else. Actually, when I’m in the classroom next to my office, and primary is at recess, I can occasionally hear her cheering over the other kids.
Yes, she’s loud.
I love that she makes her teachers explain things she doesn’t get, and I love that, when something bothers her, she’ll say something. I love how generous she is. When a kid in her class got sick, Monk wanted to make her a card and tape a quarter inside of it. Another kid immediately piped up with, “A quarter isn’t very much.” According to her teacher, Monk turned to him with real fire in her eyes and said, “Well, if everyone gives a quarter, then it is.”
I love that the kid doesn’t really take crap from anyone. Makes my job harder, but I would hate it if that fire died or diminished.
And Chewy… What can I say about my Chewy? I love watching the kid at t-ball. For the first time in his life, other people are saying to me, “He’s so social.” He chats with everyone on the field. His team, the other team, the coaches. I love that he nearly went insane with delight when he thought the team he was playing was the Oreos (they were the Orioles). I know he thought they were the Oreos, because he laughed hysterically. Later, he announced, quite loudly, that they should be black and white. I even love how he will wear his baseball glove on his face and pretend to be Darth Vader while he’s (*supposed to be*) playing in the outfield. He’s very entertaining.
He surprises me by how smart he is. The other day, he picked up a book and read it out loud in the car. I thought he had memorized it, so his dad had him read a book he hadn’t heard before, since we just bought it. Chewy read a good half of it without assistance from either of us.
We didn’t know he could read.
Of course I’m their mother, so I think they are brilliant and funny and awesome. I’m honored to be their mother, and I hope that, in raising them, I can be the parent they deserve.
Imperfect. Flawed. Fallible. But a mom who tried hard to do the right thing, to teach them to make good decisions and take responsibility for the bad ones, because I know they’ll make mistakes. I know I have.
So today, I salute motherhood, with all of its imperfections. All the heartache and the fear and the messiness. But all of it is worth it to hear the kids laugh with real joy in their voices. I look into their faces and see their father reflected there. They remind me every day why I fell in love with him, and why I love him still.
They are what make this day for me.
I love you kids.