I always knew I wanted to be a mother. Even when I was very young I knew I wanted children. When I met my husband I was very young, eighteen. We had our whole lives ahead of us but he wasn’t as excited as I was in the beginning. It was a “when we’re older” thing for him.
And then suddenly, when we were in law school and thirty began to make an appearance on the horizon, it felt right and we decided to try. Silly us, we thought it might take a while but lo and behold, it happened the first month we tried and suddenly I was pregant in my second and into my third year of law school.
Mothering was so much more than I could have imagined. And I have a great imagination. It was more of everything. Overwhelming at times, my first child was a high needs baby, he had colic for six months. He cried a lot. He needed a lot. I lost most of my time for myself and between him and school, didn’t have much left for my husband. Today he’s sweet, very emotional, my snuggler, a boy with his heart on his sleeve who will not shut up about Pokemon.
But things eased after a time and some years later, we thought an addition to our family would be nice and along came my youngest son. As different from my oldest as could be. My youngest son was the sweetest baby! He slept so easily, played independently and was generally a joy. Until he started walking and turned into the holy terror he remains today. He is mischevious to the extreme. A sweetie pie with a gleam of trouble in his eye, he loves to dig and run and make giant, wet messes in the bathroom sink with his cars.
And we thought we were done. Or I wanted to be and my husband, knowing I’d be the one to bear the majority of the labor of parenting as I was home with the kids, agreed two was enough. So imagine my surprise when I was late. I mean, really late. And surprise, along came my daughter. Who was a sweet and gentle baby for like four months and is as wild as her next older sibling and as emotional and loving as her oldest brother.
My kids are exhausting creatures. They are inquisitive and rarely stop moving from dawn to far into the night. They chatter endlessly and fight all too often. I did not get the brand of children who play nicely and keep clean when they are in dress up clothes. They break things and throw chairs at each other and their legs are always covered in bruises and scrapes. The boys can’t seem to get the pee in the damned toilet at least 40% of the time and they often smell like wet dog by the end of the day and my daughter takes her father calling her princess seriously and is an utter tyrant.
Still, they are the unrelenting light of my life and I can’t quite imagine what I’d be doing if I wasn’t picking up Barbie shoes and stepping on legos in the middle of the night.
I don’t believe motherhood isn’t a path necessary to being a woman, it’s not a path a woman needs to be fulfiled or to find purpose. It’s not what we have to do and sometimes, sadly, it’s something we want but can’t achieve for one reason or another.
I chose it and it chose me and the universe was kind in bestowing these beautiful, horrible creatures on me. My life isn’t complete because of them and they don’t own every part of me. I am a person, whole and true, apart from my being a mother. But my being a mother is part of who I am as much as being a wife, a daughter, a writer. It brings me challenges and joy like nothing else ever has and I am so blessed to have it.
I find it a most beautiful thing that it was my being on bedrest with my third, surprise baby when I started to write seriously. In many ways, my being a writer now is due in part to my being at home with my kids and that fated, surprise and very emotional third pregnancy. Mothering is as exhausting as it is creatively inspiring and on this Mother’s Day, I send my thanks out into the universe for my children, for my husband who created them with me and to my own mother and grandmothers for doing the often thankless work of mothering. But when we’re rewarded, with half a chocolate bar and those precious hand made cards, it makes the vomit, the crying, the “you’re not fair” and the looks the teacher gives me on those afternoons I come to pick my sons up from school all worth it.
Happy Mother’s Day to all the mommas out there. I wish you chocolate, a quiet morning to sleep in and lots of love.