I wanted to be many things when I grew up: a teacher, a lawyer, a writer. Rich and famous was probably on the list, too, though I've since decided famous probably isn't such a great thing, after all.
Number one on my list, though, was mother. Even as a child myself, I knew for sure I wanted children.
And this is the single greatest job, my most glorious accomplishment. The weird thing is that after all those hours of dreaming and then the reality of it, I can now see the end of my most pressing years of motherhood.
Don't get me wrong. Children always need their mothers in some capacity. As a "child" who lost her mother at 40, I know this firsthand. What I'm saying is that the years when my children need me intensely, pressingly will soon come to an end. Even my youngest daughters, 14 and 16, are finding their independence now. It's lovely to watch, actually. Terrifying, too.
My little girls have mostly grown up, which feels unbelievable to me. All those carpools. All those Halloween costumes, the ones I so laboriously hand-stitched (just kidding). The early wake-ups and sleepless nights. The clinginess and irrational childhood fears. The diapers! So. Much. Poop. The special meals. Potty training. Reading books in bed. Singing in the darkness. The pink nursery and then twin beds. The long trips in a goldfish encrusted mini van. Pictures hung on walls, crude drawings soon faded in sunlight. Learning to swim and write and read. Parent-teacher conferences. Listening to the CD "Multiply with Power" again and again. Watching cartoons and witnessing senseless heartache. Easter dresses and egg hunts in the too tall grass. Trips to the emergency room. Watching through the window as oldest daughter "played deer" in the yard or barked her head off on the trampoline, a mighty convincing bark, too, I might add.
The list of memories is endless and precious and funny and downright weird.
Childhood is such a strange and fascinating pit stop.
This is not a sad post. While I do feel the pressing passage of time and what that means for all of us,
I also feel a sense of accomplishment. I can glimpse my own future, though what that will bring exactly I haven't a clue. I haven't dared to think of it in detail yet.
What I know for sure, especially as I see these girls are quickly becoming women I love and admire, is that the family dinners and time spent reading or curled up watching movies or having long talks on long drives or setting boundaries or letting children break rules was totally worth it.
I love these girls madly, fiercely, crazily.
Being someone's mama, three someones, actually, is the very best thing.
Really, it's the only thing that matters.
To young mothers, especially those at home (for the short or long term), I have some unsolicited advice for you. Own your most important job like a wild woman, like a badass. When the jerk at a cocktail party glazes over with boredom or tacitly downplays your meaning and relevance, pull out your phone and shamelessly share all those pictures you took. Approach this like Clint Eastwood: "Go ahead. Make my day."
The end of it all does come, and if you want to find your position in the marketplace, you will. Or not.
It doesn't matter. The people you raised matter. The woman you became in the process matters.
Okay, stepping off my little soapbox here.
Have a great weekend!
Have a great weekend!