I’m going to admit something to you that I’ve never admitted before. Never. In fact, I’ve lied about it. And I’m really not even sure why.
When I was a little girl, there was 1 thing I was sure of…that I would be a teacher. However, I also knew that little girls were expected to grow up to be mommy’s so this became something I tried to picture, but really wasn’t too excited about the prospect. You know, I never was really a ‘kid’ person even as a little girl. Dolls creeped me out and I really never saw the ‘fun’ in changing their diapers, feeding them bottles, and then putting them down so their eyes would close. Ick. Instead, I was an animal person and I took such great care of my stuffed animals, I still have my rabbit and teddy bear from my toddler years. Instead of wanting to play barbies (which were just curvy dolls to me), I would play with my Lincoln Logs, zoom my Tonka trucks over the carpet, and climb my grandparents tree with my sis and cousin. I just didn’t have that nurturing ‘something’ I saw in other girls. Even as a teenager, I didn’t babysit like my friends. I tried it once, was petrified the entire time, and literally watched the clock hoping the parents would be home earlier than planned. They weren’t.
Then, my sister had my first nephew and he was a doll! And my sister was so ‘easy’ with him…like she learned how to become a mommy overnight! I loved spending time with he and my sister, but I never watched him by myself. I was too scared! What if he had a dirty diaper I couldn’t handle? What if he was still hungry after the baby food was gone? What if he started to cry and I couldn’t comfort him? What if he just didn’t like me? I always made sure someone was with me so I could ‘hand him off’ if I needed too…like a tag team. My second nephew was born 3 years later and I was a bit more comfortable with him, and of course, I loved them both to the moon and back, but I started to think about being a parent myself, and just couldn’t see it. I felt a ‘mommy’ wasn’t in me.
After college, I loved teaching and working with my kids. But they were only with me a few hours a day, and I could send them home at 3:00. Ahhhh. I got to go home and only be responsible for myself.
My first hubby and I never used birth control and I think it’s because I still felt like you ‘had’ to have a baby after you married. People even asked what we were waiting for, but in 4 years, I never got pregnant.
When hubby 2 and I started dating, I didn’t think I’d be able to get pregnant, but lo and behold, I missed a period a couple of months into the relationship. I took a pregnancy test…waited the 3 minutes which seemed like hours…and saw the positive sign in the window. And, it was clearly positive. I was absolutely terrified. Truly. Hubby 2 and I got married (quickly!) and moved 3 states away for his job. I was going to be ‘all alone’ with my baby after he was born. No family. No friends (yet). Funnily, I loved being pregnant. I loved the attention AND the eating of chips and danishes at all times of the day or night with no guilt whatsoever! But, right on schedule and after a LLLLOOOONNNNGGGG labor, my son was born. The nurses got him cleaned up and then put him in my arms. I looked down at this beautiful baby but thought ‘who is this little guy and why is he being given to me?’ Unlike most moms, I resisted leaving the hospital where I had so much help and support. The thought of bathing my boy alone was horrifying! Of course, we got kicked out after a couple of days and as we took him home in our big, clunky Impala, I couldn’t help but think this was the start of something I wasn’t ready, or qualified, for!
My mom came to be with me for a week after his birth, and after she left and hubby went back to work, it was just me and my son. How was I going to do this alone? I wasn’t experienced, wasn’t ready, and wasn’t feeling a ‘mommy’ in me yet. I was flying solo and had to make sure he always had a clean diaper, that I was drinking enough to make his milk, that he was getting bathed and clean, etc. One day, hubby 2 came home and said, ‘Why did you put your pajamas on already? It’s only 5:00!’ I said ‘I haven’t had time to get dressed yet!’
One night, after battling colic for 4 months and multiple sessions of breastfeeding everyday, I went to bed and when I awoke, I realized my boy hadn’t gotten me up. It was after 2:00 and he usually wanted fed at midnight. I tottered into his nursery, looked in the crib, and his face was getting blue and he had very shallow breathing. I screamed for hubby and we rushed him to the hospital. I didn’t even put him in a seat…I just held him to me and started praying. Hard. The doctors diagnosed asthma, and he got his first breathing treatment of hundreds to come. He spent 2 nights in the hospital, and was in a breathing tent. I couldn’t hold him. I ‘slept’ on a cot in his room, and kept getting up to see my boy struggle with his breaths. My heart melted. And at that moment, I realized this was MY son and I was totally in love with him. I realized that if something were to happen to him, I wouldn’t be able to go on. He was my precious boy and I became a mommy that night. After he got stabilized and came home, things changed!
I started loving being a mommy! I’d play on the floor for hours with him. Read him books I had loved as a kid. Took him places where he could pet animals, play with balls, and toddle around with other children. As he grew, we just had more and more fun. I was his t-ball coach, his Boy Scout leader, and his classes’ room mom (my goodie bags were to die for) every year! We did everything together! In the summers, we would swim at our local pool everyday, participate in library programs, have pajama days where we would laze around and just read or play games. One day, I looked at him and started seeing a big boy. And then a bigger boy. And then a teen. And then, a man.
How did this happen? Why did it go so fast? How did my baby grow into a man in the blink of an eye? I had gone from dreading motherhood to embracing it and never wanting it to end.
Three years ago, my boy moved to Fort Worth, TX for a great job opportunity. But, that’s 12 hours from our home. I drove down with him to get his apartment ready, and then I was going to fly back home after he was settled. I was cringing at the thought of having to say goodbye to my baby. To not see him everyday. To have to look at his room and see an empty space. To not have his friends around complimenting me on my nachos. To not have my boy with me. My son tried to comfort me, and told me he’d wait with me in the airport so we could have some extra time together. But, when we got to the international airport, we had no idea where we were and ended up in the place where you drop people off and GO! NO!! I didn’t want this!! I needed time to say goodbye, and people were honking and motioning to us to leave! I got out of the car with my bag, and my son came around to hug me. I was sobbing, and my boy took me by the shoulders and said this ‘Mom…you did a great job with me! I couldn’t have done this without you. You gave me wings, and now you have to let me fly.’ That’s exactly what he said.
I had come full circle. I started not knowing if I could be a mommy, and then had my son tell me I had done a great job. I smiled through the tears and knew I had to let him go. We stayed close! I flew down to Texas every 6-8 weeks and we’d do so many fun things together. My mom and I drove down every Christmas with her car full of gifts! It was working out, but having my child so far away scared me too. What if something happened to him and I couldn’t get to him?
But guess what? He’s coming back home. There are new opportunities for him with his company close by and I’ll be able to see my boy whenever I want! I can’t wait! He’s my heart. He’s a part of my soul. How did I not know that at first? Because I feel like he’s always been with me. Somewhere inside. It’s just that he needed to come out in person. And I am so darn blessed that he did.
One time, when he was little, he asked why he didn’t have a brother. I told him this ‘Baby, sometimes God gives you the perfect child right from the start!’ (I actually couldn’t have any more children…how ironic. I went from dreading one to wanting a bunch!) He loved that…and I still say it to him often!
Now, I’m eager to be a grandma some day! My sister has 2 grand kids, and they are awesome! And, even more so, my sis is the best grandma I’ve ever known (besides our own). She is a baby/kid person and loves children so much. I can’t wait to hold my son’s child in my arms one day. And if his wife is scared and unsure at first, that’s ok. Grandma K will be there helping. And loving it.
This is what I know: No matter what is happening in my life, I have a son who is the most awesome, funny, adorable, sweet, ambitious guy I know. He has blessed my life more than words can say, and I know he loves me right back. No matter what, life is good because of my boy.