“I want to be a firefighter and a mom.”
This was the response scrawled under the question of, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” on my preschool ‘Who I Am’ poster.
Somewhere along the way, the firefighter dream dwindled off, but the mom dream stuck.
Becoming a mom has rocked me. Molded me. Grown me. Wounded me. Breathed life into me. At times it has defined me, but then it’s also pushed me to find myself again. It has reminded me of the wonderful smell of a new box of crayons. Helped me to laugh at the gorillas at the zoo hoarding all the lettuce. But, becoming a mom has brought me to my knees more times then I can count. It has also insisted on dance parties in the kitchen to introduce the kids to 80’s music.
Sometimes becoming a mom doesn’t happen at the appearance of two pink lines. Sometimes, it doesn’t feel natural. At other times, it is more like a stumbling or awakening into this new role. Sometimes, it takes a growing into in order to embrace the mom title in all it’s glory.
For me, becoming mom the first time came right way. Even before he was born, I was eager and ready for his arrival. I was ready to wear maternity clothes, bask in the cravings of cookie dough ice cream and decorate his (pre-Pinterest) nursery. I loved every moment of becoming a mom the first time. It seemed to fit like a glove.
Becoming a mom the second time was slightly more terrifying. I had already awakened to the realities of what motherhood entailed. Okay, it was a lot more terrifying. I was well into my pregnancy when I was at peace with it. But after she was born, when I saw our first gently holding our second, that’s when it all came together. My heart felt like it would burst with joy and that’s when I accepted the gift of becoming mom again.
Becoming a mom the third time was different and difficult and beautiful because another woman had to become mom first. Then two years later, in a country halfway around the world we met her son who was now also becoming our son. And this time, becoming mom took awhile longer. I became mom by title to a two year old, but we were strangers and knew nothing about each other. This time becoming mom took intentionality, choosing love, and learning about each other. At some point the intentional steps became less intentional and more natural. This time I stumbled upon becoming mom.
Becoming Mom the fourth time was similar to the third. Yet this time, we met over Facetime and then in person at the airport when my husband carried him through the gates. Our first night together was long and difficult. I held him and sang for hours that night, and as the sun was coming up, he fell asleep in my arms. It was then I knew I had become mom again and it was beautiful.
Becoming a mom the fifth time occurred three days before Christmas. We were in a doctor’s office, but there was no heartbeat and then an emergency surgery. This time becoming mom was in the grief-filled tears in the days that followed.
Becoming a mom is an amazing gift. A gift that overflows with pockets of joy and fear, of belly laughs and cookie crumbs. A gift of holding tight and then letting go and loving so deeply it hurts.
However, and whenever, we become mom- may we embrace this gift in all of it’s craziness and celebrate it the best we can.