Do you remember how it felt when you found out you were going to be a mother? Were you afraid? Were you excited? Were you nervous? Were you overwhelmed?
I think every mother on the planet, no matter how she came to be a mom, through birth or adoption, feels some combination of these emotions, and many more.
Being a parent is a HUGE responsibility. I remember sitting in the hospital, preparing to take my first-born child home. My (now ex) husband and I were so excited. Then there was a crushing moment of clarity when I realized that these amazing angels that we call nurses were not coming home with us.
They seemed to know what to do, and for reasons I could not understand, they thought we did too.
They were sending us home with a life, a person, a complete human being that we were now solely responsible for.
The weight of the moment crashed down around me.
I was certain that I was going to screw it up.
We managed to not injure the baby on the way home, and I remember thinking, “Well, that is step one.”
I found comfort in the “older” and “more experienced” moms around me. I tried to glean from their knowledge nuggets that I thought sounded wise and discarded the ones that I thought sounded crazy.
The baby went on to learn to walk, talk, read, ride a bike, and on and on.
At each turn, as his mom, I was certain I had absolutely no idea what to do.
I would still look around at the other moms on the playground or in the dreaded pick-up line and wonder how they all seemed to have it so together. Some days it was all I could do to remember what day it was, and here is the Pinterest mom (my pre-school was pre-Pinterest, I feel for you mamas now, oh, do I feel for you!) with her daughter’s hair braided to look like a bird’s nest on the first day of spring.
We eventually went on to add 3 more unsuspecting children to our lot and continued to take notes from those around us who have walked the road before us.
I will never forget the day that one of my friends called me to ask a question about how our school district handled a particular topic. Though I cannot remember the topic (I think it was calendar related) I fully remember asking why she asked me. In my head, I was still the mom fumbling around pretending I knew what was happening. She said, “because you are a mom of older kids, you know these things.”
It stopped me dead in my yoga pants. Is that what people thought? That I knew things? How could I make them stop thinking that? This could be dangerous for all of us.
I felt like I was lying to people if they thought that I knew what I was doing.
Fast forward to today.
So much growth and change has happened since those playground days.
That first baby is turning 17 today. He is officially what I am calling a Practicing Adult.
He prefers to sweaters and ties to sweatpants. He loves poetry and the spoken word. He is a drummer in the band. He has participated in Speech and Debate as well as Mock Trial. He is brilliant, funny, kind, empathetic, and so much more.
He towers over his mom, though he has learned to not pat me on the head.
I have lost track of what step we are on now, though I remember step one was to not hurt the baby on the way home.
I look at him and feel nothing but pride. He is living, breathing evidence that some people who have no idea what they are doing can do amazing things (with the help of family, friends, and oh so much prayer).
W, I am so, so proud of you. Whether you make millions or make popcorn, you make this mama’s heart happy.
The days we have left in our current dynamic are numbered. Talk of the next step is around every corner.
I look at past posts and pictures of him on social media, and my heart aches. Not because I wish to go back, because those days were hard, and I would not want to relive them. But because they were sweet. There is a magic to those days that I will cherish forever.
I am so thankful that modern technology allows us to chronicle our children’s lives as they grow and change over the years.
W, I love you. We are all so very proud of you.