Saturday, May 9, 2009

Mother's Day

I never expected to be a mother. It's not something I was raised to do. As a little girl, I didn't play house and I didn't carry around baby dolls. I played "Love Boat" and pretended I was a famous businesswoman who Gopher fell in love with on a cruise to Acapulco. I had high aspirations, obviously.

I didn't take Home Ec in high school. My sisters took it and it sounded like fun: baking cookies and cake and learning to sew. I expected to take it, too. When I brought it up to my counselor, she looked over her glasses at me and said, "But you want to go to college, don't you? Don't waste your time with home ec. That's a class for...for girls who won't be going to college."

In fact, I was steadfastly against having children until about two years before I became pregnant. Working years in retail will turn anyone against children. I watched too many temper tantrums unfold in the toy aisle near my cash register, saw too many parents reduced to red-faced, sweaty messes as they juggled bags, checkbooks and screaming children.

My own mother didn't seem to like being a mother very much so there wasn't much to interest me in joining the ranks.

But here I am. I'm a mother. I'm not the first. I'm not the best. I'm not the worst. But here I am.

I'm trying. It's hard. I don't have great examples to follow and I wasn't trained to do this. There's no pay check, no big jackpot. The payoffs come when you least expect them: a midnight nuzzle on your neck as you carry a sleeping child to bed. A messy kiss after a shared surprise ice cream cone. Feeling your baby grow heavy on your shoulder as she shudders, sighs and gives in to sleep. The sunlight on your child's hair as she runs happily through the park, her giggles ringing in the air. The fistful of dandelions offered to you as though they were a bouquet of roses. Watching your children hug each other tightly, then open their arms to invite you in.

There are payoffs, sometimes so small, that if you blink, you might miss them.

Here I am. I'm a mother.

Thank goodness.


Kara said...

Oh you look beautiful with a baby on your shoulder! A very happy mother's day! I know you're an amazing mom because you understand that chocolate makes everything better.

ingrid said...

your picture made me teary...

how lovely.

when i was younger i decided to not have children, and now... well. you know.