Fifteen years a go today I officially became a mother. My oldest son came into the world a nine pound eight ounce wonder - quietly looking at the world like he was ready to be here and not crying until the cold hit him...
and showing me what true love and joy are all about.
When I became a stay at home Mom when he was just 9 months old (and I was six months pregnant with his sister -- YES SIX MONTHS!) the whole world told me I was making a mistake - giving up a six figure income for poopey diapers and a super high-energy son who rarely ever slept, but they were wrong. I gained the world.
Giving myself to my oldest two children for four years was the best decision of my life. We learned all kinds of things, and yes, I even had lesson plans for them -- we learned science, vocabulary, we read books, learned math concepts -- even when they were very little. These were age appropriate things but they were things that took their minds further.
When my husband brought home a black lab puppy (aptly named Crash) who didn't know how to stay home, I thought I'd lose my mind. We live across the street from a funeral home and the dog was so friendly, he decided he had to go to every funeral -- but with a baby on each hip - I had no hands left to get the dog - so I had many creative ways to run across the street to get Crash, including the 2 hip, leash-in-mouth wonder that made me gag into the bushes when I got the naughty puppy home. And yet, these are still beautiful memories that I cherish.
My yard had the neighbors ooh-ing and ahh-ing because we just had to spend a good four hours a day outside so they could play and I grabbed the hoe and went after those weeds.
These were also times of extensive journaling for me. I've always written about 30 minutes to an hour a day since I was 8, but I wrote just to keep my sanity! (Boy, I wish I'd had my Kindle back then.) These were days of survival when my children were on opposite sleep schedules. I did everything all the books told me to -- the only problem was that my children never read those books! I remember going to church one Sunday and being able to count on two hands the number of hours I'd slept since the last Sunday.
Our First Night Together
And yet, still, being a Mom is the greatest calling upon my life next to being a wife. I love my children with all I am and recall with moist eyelashes the first night I spent with my oldest son. The nurses had forgotten to bring him to me at 1 am for nursing, so I went and got him. I got him because not only did I need him to nurse, but I had things to tell him.
After he ate, I spent over an hour speaking to him about life. Sharing the "plan of salvation" and how my best friend Jesus Christ had given him to me and brought him to this earth for a purpose that only he could do.
I told him how I was a person who made lots of mistakes and his Dad was too, but that I promised him that I'd love him with all my heart and would give everything I had for him, my life and my last breath... that I would spend the next eighteen years helping him have the best home possible, and even quietly singing the Rambling Wreck song (sans the curse word.) I told him that after eighteen years it would be time to go to college or get a job and that we'd support him, but we wanted him to grow up and become a man. So much for a little fella to do! And on his first night!
I tried to share with him the things important to me and told him that this was the one time I knew he'd listen to me and that somewhere in that mind of his, I hope the connections would be made that would help him see the depth of my love, his father's love, and his Father's love.
He looked at me quietly as I spoke, enraptured with this woman who he'd only heard but never seen. Many say babies at that age cannot see at all... I disagree, he saw my very soul with his intent gaze-- a foreshadowing of how he gazes into the heart of many people now.
And now as he is in the throes of his teenage years - just hitting 6'2" and towering over me... I feed him about six meals a day and still find him making bacon sandwiches at 10 pm. Right now he needs me to "back off" in many ways - being a "Mom" and saving the "Mother" for when he's sick or in rare moments of conversation and this is OK too. I respect my son and have always tried to treat him like a person - one who deserves my respect and as much freedom as his age can handle. And yet in many ways this age is the hardest for reasons I will not go into as many of his friends read this blog.
(When I struggle with the moments with one of my students, I always picture their Mom holding their child and speaking such words of hope - this student is somebody's baby. When they tell their child's story of school, how will I fit into that story? I think of the teachers I want for my child and try to be that myself! Hey, I am my child's teacher. ;-) )
He is ever on my heart, my mind, and my prayers but I have to think back over his first 24 hours in this world when I shared these things. Now I show him love in other ways which includes, when it is necessary, giving him more choices, stepping back, not "embarrassing" him in public with joy over his accomplishments, and letting him be the fine young man he is growing to be. There are still times he falls short and needs a little direction, but there are times I fall short too.
I do not know what is ahead for my son, only that all of my love and hope and energy have been given into his care and growth. He has a great Dad who is the love of my life and a little sister and little brother who also fill my life and heart with joy to overflowing (as well as forcing me to don my referee shirt every so often!)
This son, my only firstborn son, was born fifteen years a go today. And in many ways, my friends, so was I.
Holding On, by kudaker - http://www.flickr.com/photos/kudaker/586305185/