I have a grand total of 19 years of formal education to my name but my two greatest lessons in life happen to call me mom and what they have taught me about life far exceeds any textbook, paper or research project. There are times where I have thanked professors for the time they spent helping to expand my mind, where I have thanked friends for being by my side during rough times, thanked my parents for helping support me through the early stages of life, but with Thanksgiving rapidly approaching I’d like to stop today and thank the two people who deserve my accolades without question for making me a better person than I could have ever dreamed- my children.
Before having children I was more rested, had more freedom, was more autonomous – a laundry list of things that felt deserved and easy in those moments. But I was not full. I knew it as anyone who suddenly realizes that despite a good life they still yearn for something more knows it. There was a space that needed to be filled. I didn’t know what having children would do to my life but I had that primal understanding that it was the path I needed to travel. There is something to be said for being handed a whole new world wrapped in a hospital blanket. I had no idea all the little holes I had that their existence would fill. Some lessons were big and life changing. Some I only recognize now as I reflect back. But between my two sons I have found what I was missing.
My oldest came into my world on his own terms from day one. Complication upon complication starting wracking up during my pregnancy with him. I spent day after day consumed by the risks that I knew I was being monitored for. I spent most of my last trimester on bed rest only leaving the house for my triweekly appointments. It was miles from what I imagined pregnancy to be – the first indication really that adding new life to the world was not something that you could plan the details of. The days after his birth were the first time I would feel relief to my core. Sitting in the NICU with him I felt incredibly lucky – our stay was going to be short and despite all of the things that could have gone wrong our baby was safe. I had begun the process of tearing down my ideas of emotions. I was feeling the raw gut wrenching level of fear and joy that comes with motherhood. I was surprised with how much more my emotions went than I had ever realized. The day I was able to take my newborn home healthy and well and leave all of the last few months worth of worries behind in an incubator as the hospital, I realized what it was to be truly GRATEFUL.
My youngest came into the world less than two years later in a cloud of “what ifs.” We found out early into our second pregnancy that we were genetic carriers for a serious medical disorder. I’d had this delusion that because my first pregnancy had been so wrought with complications that the universe would be gifting me a simple second pregnancy. After receiving the phone call that we were genetic carriers I cycled through every possible emotion and scenario for weeks. We debated and discussed the amnio. Could I live the next 6 months not knowing? Could I live with the possible consequences of the risks that came with this kind of procedure? I grieved the idea of having a carefree pregnancy. I felt fear to levels that I didn’t know existed. I fell apart and pulled myself back together multiple times . I knew I had this child inside of me. I knew that his genetics had been decided at conception and no amount of bargaining or finger crossing could change what may be. I cycled through these stages of fear, strength and grief and finally one day I realized I had struggled my way into peace. We’d skip the amnio. I would accept that what would be would be. I had an intense feeling of relief from our decision despite the fact that I am a power welding control freak and as I realized that I really truly could be excited about my baby even with this genetic cloud hanging over our heads I understood what it was to be HOPEFUL.
Over the course of my tenure as a mother my boys have continued to fill those holes that I had felt. They have helped me to live a more PURPOSEFUL life as I strive to help guide them to be kind and happy people. Each day I know that we are working towards creating the foundation for our two additions to the human race. Instead of taking the easy way all the time, this responsibility makes me put more care into how I make decisions. I am also more HEEDFUL of passing judgement to other’s as I now understand how complicated any one scenario can be no matter how simple and obvious it may appear to be on the outside. Having found myself in various scenarios where I realize that pre-parent me would have been judging has quite rightly humbled my sense of superiority. (RIP Superiority complex – No one liked you anyways!) Since becoming a mother I have been made aware that I am POWERFUL enough to scare away the biggest baddest nighttime monsters and brave enough to check under any bed and any closet for lions, tigers or boogeymen. I am more JOYFUL than I could have ever imagined watching my children interact as brothers and best friends and knowing that I had something to do with creating two creatures who love so fiercely. My boys remind me to be PLAYFUL (I write as Mr. Terrible Twos currently is blowing raspberries on my arm and laughing at each success) and they inspire me to be more THOUGHTFUL as I now think of their needs before my own.
My sons, during this season of thanks I want you to know that every day since you entered this world, you have made my life WONDERFUL. You light up my life and make everything in my world more BEAUTIFUL. My days with you are full of firsts and new and excitement and childhood joy which makes every single day, trip, vacation, discussion seem more MEANINGFUL. Even on days when my fuse seems short and my temper flares, whether you have been sent to time out, no matter how many sighs I’ve given or eyes I’ve rolled – YOU are the reason I feel so incredibly FULL of life and for that and for you, I am so very deeply THANKFUL. xoxoxoxo Mommy