Right now you are sleeping in your/our room, all swaddled up and perfect. Before you went to sleep, I feed you and changed you and cuddled you and let you fall asleep on my chest. Before all that, we spent the day together, the three of us, looking at antiques and eating fun food and hiking up monuments and meeting new people. And before that beautiful day we had together, I did what I do every morning as I wake up to you now: I remember that I am a mom. I am your mom.
We, you and I, belong to each other now. I am yours and you are mine.
This weekend is my first Mother’s Day as a mother. I am now in the club. This holiday is one in which I can participate in a whole new way…like, it’s about me now, too. Not just my mom and stepmom and grandmas, but me. I’m a mom. At church when they do the obligatory mom shout out, I will either stand up to be clapped for or receive Dove chocolate as we leave or be the subject of an artsy intro video.
You, my sweet sleeping babe (I’m laying on the love thick tonight, kid, because last night you were a holy terror and you broke my brain), are the one who made me a mom. Okay, we all know that literally and biologically, your dad made me a mom, but, whatever. To be a mom, one must have someone to be a mom to. I did not have said person in my possession before. Since last July, I had you. And you made me your mom.
We plan on having other kids, one because we apparently love pain and two because we want you to have at least one guaranteed friend. Even though there will be more kids that make me a mom, you will always be our first. You’ve started teaching me and dad what being a mom and dad together looks like. You’re showing us how to love and think about someone other than us as a unit more than we think about ourselves. Shepherd, you are our greatest adventure and we love learning how to love you. And you’re a good teacher. I mean, you’ll get better when you can actually talk, but given that all you have are cries and lip smacking as communication tools, you’re doing great.
You’ll come to learn that I am not necessarily gentle or soft spoken or slow to speak or great at all the traditional ‘woman’ roles, and maybe the fact that you hardly startle or jump or MOVE when I laugh is evidence that you’re already somewhat aware of who your mother is. While I’ve always been moderately okay with the fact that I am me and God made me how I am and that is just fine, when I got pregnant with you I started to become insecure about how I would be as a mom.
I’ve wanted to have kids for forever. I’ve dreamed of my husband and family and our life together since I was a little girl. But I didn’t see having kids as the end all be all for me. I saw having a family and raising children with my husband at my side as a large, important, significant part of my life, but not my whole life. So while yes, I dreamed of you long before I had you, I was dreaming of you in the context of my whole life.
But that’s not what I saw around me.
Some of my best friends, women you will call Aunty, were just born to be moms. I mean, they have taught me what loving your kids with your whole heart looks like. These women are tender and gentle and love making clothes and baby food and following all the rules of pregnancy (you liked sushi, I couldn’t deny you.) and are just these shining beacons in my mind of motherhood. And I am so glad they will be in your life.
But your mom, me, I, I do not look like that.
And so I started to worry. Literally, the fear that dominated my mind was would I love you enough. Would I love you more than being alone in the morning?, cuz mommy don’t play when it comes to sleep. Would I love you more than having your dad all to myself and our time all to ourselves and the liberty to go anywhere at anytime? Would I resent you? Would I feel like I was losing myself by staying home with you and not working for cash money outside the house? What about when I wanted to drink wine or go to a cabin or sleep in super late or drink gallons of coffee or pee alone? Would I love you enough?
…because I didn’t fit into what I thought motherhood needed to look like, what I saw around me. I am not my sweet friends. I am me. And until you got here, Shepherd, I could not picture myself as a mom.
But then I met you. And me as a mom made sense.
No, I am not super submissive or quiet or laid back or really into sewing and making food. No, I do not have Proverbs 31 memorized (truth time: I made a craft at a women’s retreat with the phrase ‘She Can Laugh’ because God’s been speaking to me from that verse. I WROTE “-PSALM 31” AT THE BOTTOM OF THE CRAFT. So, no. Not memorized). I don’t love to do a lot of the things I see other moms doing, in fact, I just don’t even do most of them. I haven’t read any baby books and I have no clue when your milestones are or what we’re supposed to be looking for (I do have Google so we’re not totally irresponsible).
But I don’t have to be anything other than what I am. Because I am your mom. I am no one else’s mom yet, just yours. And I am not mothering you alongside these other moms, I’m mothering you with your dad. And your dad willingly constructed you with me, so I think it’s safe to say he’s a fan of mine.
As Mother’s Day approaches, I can honestly say that I have never felt more like myself in my entire life, Shep. Being your mom has pulled things out of me I didn’t realize were inside me. God gave us each other. You’re our baby, my baby. And I am your mom. My voice, my laugh, my mannerisms, my way of being gentle, my approach at loving you -all of it, me, is enough for you. It’s what you need.
And you are the baby I needed to become a mom. You are the baby with the sweet eyes who loves to cuddle and needs a lot of attention and is already stubborn and hilarious and is so damn loud -the baby that I needed.
And I might quote a verse from Proverbs 31 as coming from Psalms, but that’s okay. Because the verse says, about this woman we in the Church worship, that she is “clothed in strength and dignity and laughs without fear of the future.” And I can laugh. Kid, can’t no one laugh like your mom. I’ll laugh all day. And my strength and dignity may not look like other women’s strength and dignity, but that’s okay. Because my life is going to be spent with my people, and theirs with theirs. And God knew and God saw and God gave appropriately.
So as Mother’s Day approaches, Shepherd, I can say that I am not the mom I thought I would be. I didn’t go through some huge process of quieting down and relaxing and learning to want different things from my life before you got here. I didn’t prepare for you by changing and becoming some ultimate mom-type I saw in my head or perceived around me.
You came and you changed me.
You came and you made me your mom, and that was that.
I got you and I responded. And honestly, I’ve never felt more like this who I am supposed to be. I am supposed to be married to your dad and we’re supposed to have you.
I was made to love you and love you, my son, I will.
So, thank you. Thank you for giving me the best gift I’ve ever received.