Four years ago our oldest daughter entered this world all in a rush. Fact is, she’s still in a rush to get out there, get moving, explore, and get dirty. Tee’s a whirlwind of mischief, temper, and unreserved affection.
That day four years ago marks the birth of our daughter. It also marks the birth of a family and the birth of a mother.
As we’re celebrating Tee’s birthday this weekend with cake and toys and more sugar than I want to think about, I find myself reflecting on my own “birthday”. Four years and one day ago, I was carrying a child inside my body. I was full of unknown potential and love waiting to happen. Yes, of course I loved the unborn baby in my belly. But it just can’t compare to how it felt to finally hold the child I’d been waiting to meet for nine long months. Come to think about it, it was actually more like 33 years even if I didn’t know it at the time.
I was never that little girl playing house and pretending to be a mommy. I was too busy climbing trees, building dams, and pretending to be a Transformer (usually Bumblebee, if you were wondering). As a teenager, I went through some hard times and was more focused on getting through in one piece than on thinking about the future. In my twenties and even after getting married, I still didn’t feel that strongly about having children. Most of the time I thought that having kids would tie us down and make it more difficult for me to achieve my career goals, travel, and just plain have fun.
And of course I was absolutely right. But somewhere around 30, everything changed. Despite knowing all the sacrifices that having a child would require, I wanted a baby of our own. When I saw Facebook status updates from my friends getting pregnant and having babies, I yearned for those things for myself. The day we decided to start trying for a baby, I felt an incredible lightness of spirit. I was meant to do this.
It took three months to plant that first little life, and I remember we both cried a little when I showed hubs the positive test. I was ecstatic, anxious, and terrified all at the same time. My emotions felt too large for my body, and I could hardly believe that I was supposed to go to work and keep everything to myself for the next eight weeks.
So when Tee was born four years ago, I was more than ready to be reborn. I was ready to put aside my selfishness and to forever put someone else’s needs before mine. To accept the terrifying responsibility of caring for this perfect tiny being who depended on me for her very survival. To eagerly take on the inevitable joy and anguish and vulnerability that comes with loving someone this much, forever until the day I die. To mother.