Sunday, May 9, 2010

Counting my blessings

A lifetime ago - before the days of responsibility and parenting, when sleeping in was a given and the most important decision I had to make was what movie I wanted to see that evening - I thought I had it pretty good. I was working a job that I was proud to have gotten, I was happily planning a future with a wonderful guy and couldn't wait to get it started. I was in a hurry to grow up, without any real idea of what that actually entailed, and my life seemed already pretty full.

Then along came Morgan.

When you're a young girl and you think of having kids, you think of having babies. They are so cute, they have that "baby smell", they wear adorable tiny clothes. And then that baby comes out and all of a sudden your world turns upside down. The life that seemed so full just last week is now but a memory, and all of a sudden you can't remember life before this miracle. When I look back on those years sometimes it seems like a blur to me. Its like I put my head down and got lost in the day-to-day circus that comes along with babies. I have never learned so much in all my years of school as I did that first year of being a mother and it was a journey I will cherish forever. In those early years I learned to function on virtually no sleep whatsoever, to change a squirming toddler in my lap in almost any location you can think of, how to tell the severity of a fever with the back of my hand, how to scare away the monsters in the closet, to cure almost any ailment with a bandaid and of course how to make the perfect grilled cheese sandwich. We added to our brood two years later with Owen and through those precious times I learned the real meaning of unconditional love. I have had the joy by now of three babies, Rhian coming along four years after Owen. It could be said that she had it easier than the first two, being the last and some six years later than my first. But I sometimes think she has it worse; she will always be the baby.

Every Mothers Day my wonderful husband takes it upon himself to make me feel special, to make me breakfast in bed - from that first year when Morgan was four months old and could only lay on the bed and stare at me waiting for her turn to be fed, until today when the kids needed only slight supervision and even carried the tray to my bed on their own - and to show me just how much he appreciates me. The kids make me cards and draw me pictures, dote on me all day and never let me out of their sight without calling out, "Happy Mothers Day Mommy!" Today I looked at my kids and realized they're not babies anymore. All of a sudden its like I lifted my head finally and I see these three people who are here all because of us, and who are at once so alike and so completely different. I watched them all very closely, remarking on their mannerisms, thier personalities, the way they interact with eachother and I was overcome with pride. From all those late night crying spells, dirty diapers and countless time-outs, the mountains of baby laundry and marathon teething sessions, came three wonderful, caring, respectful individuals. From my beautiful eleven year old daughter who is wise beyond her years, kind and caring and who shows amazing talent for music, my wonderfully funny and adorable nine year old son who has an insatiable curiosity for how things work and how he can make them better, to my giggly, spunky and wildly fun five year daughter who keeps us on our toes and whom we affectionately refer to as our "wild child" - I am pretty sure I am the luckiest girl alive to call these beautiful souls my children.

This year I got to share my special day with two very special women: my own mother and my beloved mother-in-law. I am blessed to have these inspiring examples of motherhood in my life and am grateful I got to spend the day with them both. I know my mother hasn't had a breakfast in bed like that in some 20 years - I hope she has recovered! And it was well worth the drive to see the look on my mother-in-law's face as she watched her sons and her many grandchilren playing and enjoying each other's company. What joy to watch your family grow and expand, how wonderful to be able to experience that with her.

For all you Moms out there, I wish you all the best on this day set aside especially to celebrate us and all we do. There are no words for the bond we share with our kids and no way to describe the journey we take from that first moment we join the "club". But we share an understanding of what it means to create, nurture and unconditionally love our children and for that gift we should all be so very thankful.

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