8 Things I Didn't Know About Motherhood
Every year on her birthday, I get reflective. I remember the pain of childbirth (no, I’ve not forgotten and all those who said I would were wrong). I remember the joy (God came right in that hospital room in Kalamazoo and worked a miracle that was way better than any wine I’ve ever tasted). I remember the love. It was palpable and I’ve never quite experienced that feeling again anywhere else.
But also I remember how much I didn’t know. It astonished me. Consider these eight things.
Your Heart Really Does Walk Around Outside Your Chest
Quite a strange expression but it’s true. Every morning when I put her on the bus, there’s this moment when I hesitate. How can I possibly send her out into the great big world alone? The world can be so cruel and hard. What if it’s like that to her?
In the grand scheme of things, there’s a bunch of stuff that doesn’t matter
Every day is another match of “pick your battles.” The outfits have never bothered me much. I cannot take hair in her face. She must be kind and respectful. With every situation we face, I spend the first few moments deciding if the matter before us is a big deal or not. Most of the time, the answer is no.
She’s one of my very best friends
I’m her mother first. I know that. But I never expected to like my daughter so much. She’s smart, witty, nice. I could go on and on. Almost anything I do, I want to include her in the plans. We have such fun.
There’s so much I don’t know
The first couple days I had her home from the hospital, I was reading “What To Expect The First Year” from cover to cover (again) and this thought entered my mind. They don’t know what they’re talking about. I have this infant for hours and days and weeks. Who is going to tell me what to actually do?
The sound of her laughter beats any other sound I’ve ever heard
I’m a musical person, with a song or two always on play in my mind. I also love the sounds of nature. But from the time she was just a little baby, my daughter’s belly laugh has brought a happiness to my heart like no other. Keep laughing little one. Life is good.
When I consider her success, perfection doesn’t even enter my mind
This one really surprises me because I am a recovering perfectionist. We just practiced her spelling words last night. A few words still had her puzzled. On the test, she might get them right. She might not. Here’s what I heard myself saying, “We practiced them. We did everything we could to be sure you’re prepared for this test. If you miss one or two, no big deal.”
I’m so very thankful for her daddy
I think about single mamas and children without parents way more than I did before becoming a mother. My husband parents differently than I do, but whenever I see them getting new tools for her toolbag or sitting down to watch a sci-fi movie together, I’m thankful for his presence in her life. I hurt for those who don’t have that father-daughter relationship.
I'm not sure when you know if you're doing it right
That feeling I had in the first few days of having her home from the hospital; it’s never really went away. I guess you just learn to live with not knowing for sure if you're doing it right. It takes a lot of faith in God and I've never prayed so much in my life. My daughter is quite spirited and I’m constantly juggling between her being respectful without squashing her individuality. Sometimes I fear she’s too much for people. She gets that from her mom.