So last week I shared with you part of the story of how my family came to be. It’s a great story that I’m really proud to “own”. But there is a big piece of that story that I haven’t yet shared with you. The piece of the story that goes like this: It was so hard and I was so freaking scared.
And no, I’m not talking about the infertility or the reunification talks, the long waits or the emotional rollercoaster of unknowns.
I’m talking about the parenting.
I’ve dreamt of being a mother since I was young. I knew it was my life’s goal. I worked with children from the youngest age I possibly could and studied child psychology with a specialty in behavior modification. And yet, during that long, cold December when a 6 week old and a 3 year old were dropped at my doorstep, I quickly came to realize that I had no idea what I was doing.
The baby screamed all night long and the 3 year old screamed all day long. I still have a visceral memory of flushed cheeks and ringing ears for days on end. It seemed as though nothing I did would ever stop the tantrums. How could I? This poor child has experienced more trauma and who-knows-what in his short life than I ever had. I was in way over my head and the fear – oh my God, the fear. Can I handle this? What did I get myself into? Why did I ever think I could help children like him? Did I just make the biggest mistake of my life (and this child’s!)?? That winter came with some of the darkest emotions I have ever felt.
But the days tumbled into months and have now become years. I still won’t sit here and tell you that parenting is easy, but now I know. I know I can do it. I was meant to do it and there was no mistake made in this match.
You get the kids you are meant to have.
Sure, they may not come exactly as you expected them to. Maybe you are the mother of a preemie, or a child with special needs. Perhaps your baby had colic, or your preschooler is “determined”, “spirited”, or “willful”. Maybe you have found yourself single parenting when you never planned it to be that way. Or maybe you’ve got a teenager (enough said, right?).
Whatever it is, whenever your day comes, please know that it is okay to feel overwhelmed. It’s okay to feel scared and uncertain. I felt that way too. But also know that there was no mistake in matching your child to you. You were called to this job because you can do it and you can do it well. Your children got the mom they were meant to have.
This parenting gig has been the most humbling experience of my life, but man, I’ve also never felt more proud. What do you think? Can you relate?