“Are you a runner?”
No, but I run.
“Are you a model?”
No, but I model.
“Are you a writer?”
No, but I write.
“Are you a mother?”
Yes, I am a mother.
Every part of me is a mother.
When I’m running, in front of a camera, at a computer, I am a mother. When I am alone, when I am at work, when I’m with friends, when I’m on a date, I am a mother.
I am a mother when I am not consciously thinking about being a mother.
When I am with my children and when I am without them, I am a mother.
In my forty years on this planet I’ve lived about a million different lives, but the two most distinct are before June 9, 2011 and after June 9, 2011. Just after midnight on that stormy night I became a mother. The literal and proverbial storm crashed down on that hospital roof and everything changed.
As the rain pounded, wind bent trees, and lights flickered, the room buzzed with life.
I didn’t know it at the time, but the person I had been my entire life ceased to exist at 1:06am that early morning. However, as she perished, two new lives began. One of a son.
And one of a mother.
Ya know, the funny thing about change is that it’s not always welcomed. And let me tell you, it certainly wasn’t welcomed by me. I wasn’t prepared. I wasn’t ready. Everything happened way too fast. I didn’t even get a chance to mourn my previous life…
But it didn’t matter.
There were diapers to be changed and bottles to be made and baths to be given and foreheads to be kissed and songs to be sung and (never ending) laundry to be done and midnight feedings to be given, and 3am feedings, and 6am feedings… My new life was exhausting and draining and left me on the verge of tears every second of the day. Oh how I longed for my old life. The one in which showering didn’t have to be written on a to-do list, and sleeping more than three hours at a time was possible. This new life left me blurry-eyed and dizzy and so
I didn’t recognize the face in the mirror anymore. She was worn down.
In way over her head.
…and completely, absolutely, overwhelmingly, entirely, utterly head over heels in love.
It was a different kind of love. Kinda strange really. One completely foreign to me. A love that was so incredibly all-consuming that the thought of him never left my mind. Never. No matter what I was doing, he was there. When I left the house for no more than minutes at a time, I missed him horribly. When I watched him as he slept, I missed him. I could not get enough of him. When I was holding him, I couldn’t get close enough, could not inhale his scent and his breath deep enough.
After the transition period (which was pretty rough and did quite a number on me), I emerged as the person who I was always meant to be. It was then that I came to a realization: this new, kind of strange, all-consuming love was all I’d ever need for the rest of my life.
If I had him, I needed nothing else.
Then I got pregnant the second time and everything changed again. All I felt was sadness and regret. I was convinced there was no way I could love this unfamiliar human being growing inside me as much as my first. In fact, I kind of resented him. I didn’t want to divide my attention. My two year old needed all of me and this would disrupt the delicate balance that I (finally) established. I didn’t feel anything for this stranger inside me for the entire nine months.
Then on February 9, 2014, it happened. It came as a bit of a surprise to me, but on that cold, sunny, late afternoon, when I held a squirmy, purple body in my arms and we locked eyes, it happened.
I fell completely, absolutely, overwhelmingly, entirely, utterly head over heels in love.
So much of those early days were a blur. Days and nights ran together and hours dragged then sped up lighting fast. Days alone with a newborn lasted years. Those days were so monotonous, so exhausting, so blurry…
But there is one day I remember clearly.
It was the day I took my second son home and held both of my boys together at the same time. One in my right arm, the other in my left arm. In that singular moment, everything suddenly came together and made sense.
For the first time in my life, everything was right and good and beautiful.
For the first time in my life, I was unequivocally, euphorically happy.
For the first time in my life, I was complete.
I know I don’t need to tell you that day to day life with two kids is complete insanity. I’m still constantly doing laundry and I’m still always tired. I yell too much and follow them around picking up a trail of matchbox cars and Legos. I play tedious games until I want to scream. I break up fights all.day.long. I still put “take a shower” on my to-do list. My kids are messy and loud and dirty and perfect.
And I wouldn’t have it any other way.
This is who I am.
This is my favorite life.
My best life.
I am not only a mother. But I am a mother before and above everything else. My children are always in the forefront of my mind, even when I’m not aware of it. It’s become as natural to me as breathing. I inhale Jackson and exhale Justus.
They are not only a part of me.
They are me.
Yes, I am a mother.