Today is November 20th, one day before my oldest baby will turn 5 years old, and he will be not-so-much a baby anymore. It's also two days before Thanksgiving, which might have prompted my thankful mood this afternoon.
I dropped Reed off at preschool, and had to drag a screaming Jaxon from the classroom (He desperately wishes it were his school, too). Then I noticed that my runny-nosed Savanna was eagerly stuffing the paper flier I held into her mouth, smearing it with the contents of her poor, red, little nose. And Jaxon pulled his hand from my grasp, crying harder when I said, "No, I have to hold your hand. We're in the parking lot." Eventually he calmed down and asked me for Daddy, to which I replied that Daddy would have insistently held his hand in the parking lot, too. For some reason, though, none of this really phased me this afternoon. Instead, it made me smile, and made me feel happy to be a mother. Why? Because I feel a strange sense of satisfaction when I have to do something for the safety of my child, even when they don't like it. It makes me feel like this:
If I never take an award-winning, groundbreaking, earth-shaking photograph, that's okay. If I never write something that broadens the mind, draws upon the emotions, and clarifies the senses of the thousands who read it, that's okay. If there is nothing to my name except "Wife, mother, daughter, sister, friend", that's perfect. That's fine. Why? Because I'm a mother. I'm doing the hardest job I could possibly do--and "job" is really not accurate. I--those of us who mother--do something that requires all my energy, time, passion, and effort. There is no break! And I am nurturing those who will forge paths and brave trials of which I never would have dreamed. My family is my legacy, my family is my honor, my family is me.
We wear our labors like medals of honor. Adopted or biological, C-section or otherwise, natural or medicated, short or long, complicated or smooth, home or hospital: Our labors, our efforts to bring these children here, are the beautiful medals we wear. Our children are our beauty, our accomplishment, our evidence of our willingness to sacrifice.
Now, of course I have difficult months, difficult weeks, difficult days, difficult moments. I would never claim that it's all smooth sailing. But the rewards are so great, and they more than make up for the times I don't know if I can keep going. Sometimes I watch my children in their sleep, their faces so relaxed and open, and I feel so close to where we come from, and I feel a mixture of homesickness and love--I think that's what it means when you say "I love them so much it hurts". I feel blessed by the experience, and humbled to have to work so hard every day to give yet more of myself. I'm happy to be a mother. I love being a mother. If all I ever do is be a dedicated mother and devoted companion to Phill, it will be the very best I could have given in this life.