Mother’s Day 2007
Yesterday I got my hair cut for the first time in seven months (yes, months). The first thing the stylist said to me was “Are you a mom?” and I thought, “My God, is it that obvious?”
I recently came across some stuff I wrote for a small magazine of whichI was once a co-editor. This is part of an editorial I wrote when my kids were five and three years old:
I’ve been surprised at how much I’ve changed since those overwhelming first weeks with a premature baby and a move to our first house (note to anyone thinking of having children: Don’t plan on moving three weeks after the baby is born. You are not in control of the timing, and you may end up moving when that baby is 10 days old instead). I’ve coped with things I never thought I’d be able to cope with: being thrown up on, going five years without regular sleep, and unexpectedly giving birth to my second child in my own living room. I’ve forced myself to do things I didn’t want to do, like learning to drive—the thought of boarding a bus with a crying baby, a stroller, and three bags of groceries was scarier than finally getting behind the wheel. I’ve also gained a new perspective on the big picture of my life. I was seven months’ pregnant with Child Two at my doctoral defense; her kicks were a constant reminder that my work is not the most important thing in my life anymore.While I sat in the stylist’s chair yesterday, I thought about those words and the things I’ve learned in the six years since I wrote them. I’ve learned just what I’m capable of—pursuing a second master’s degree while being a work-at-home mom with two young kids, my own business, and some serious volunteer commitments. I’ve also learned that I don’t want to be quite that busy. I’ve learned to be an advocate for myself and my children, whether that has meant standing up to a doctor whose personal life was overriding my need for proper care during a potentially life-threatening situation, or talking to the principal when my son is being bullied. I’ve learned how to put Child Two’s hair up in a bun, which was about as hard as learning to drive.
I’ve learned that there’s a difference between have to and get to and that my entire perspective changes depending on which phrase I use. When Child Two was younger and too scared to be the only one awake in the house at night, I had to get up whenever she needed to go to the bathroom. But, shivering on the side of the bathtub, I got to here my sleepy girl say “I love you sooooooo much!” I have to drive my kids here, there and everywhere, but I get to have wonderful conversations with them about their lives and the world on the way. I have to pay for and wait through countless hours of music lessons and ballet classes, but I get to watch their priceless performances. From September to March I have to spend just about every Saturday under an umbrella at the side of a soccer field, but I get to see their joy when they make a great save or score a goal.
I have had to change my life in so many ways. I don’t stay up late partying. If I’m up in the middle of the night, it’s because I’m trying to meet a deadline or someone’s sick. My day is full of details—it’s Child One’s library day or we need milk or Child Two’s ballet clothes need to be washed before Friday—and sometime I wonder if my tired brain is even capable of something like analyzing the sound systems of languages anymore. But I get to watch two amazing kids grow up—funny, talented (in my biased eyes), caring, and so interested in the world around them.
“Are you a mom?” Yes, I am, and I’m blessed to be. With all these two have given me, who should be thanking whom today?