Mother's Day is 2 days away. I've been contemplating what it means to me, outside of the Hallmark Holiday-ness of it all, and thinking about my last 9 years of mothering. My youngest turns 1 year old in a week, so age and stages are in the forefront of my mind, as they are anytime one of my children hits a milestone. I remember being alone and terrified in the hospital in the middle of the night after my eldest was born. My husband wasn't permitted to stay overnight and I had no family or friends who could stay with me. I was a bit scared of my baby, intimidated by the nurses who kept taking him from me and rewrapping his blanket before replacing him in the bassinet, and extremely insecure about this new shift in my life.
I vividly recall his deep, impenetrable stare, his eyes that were so dark I couldn't see the pupils, this old face in a baby's body, and wondering if I could trust myself enough to give in to this overwhelming love I'd never felt before. the unconditional nature of my feelings for him were something I had never felt before, and I was left scared, panicky, and infinitely unsure of myself.
I picked him up and I walked to the window. We stood there at the window for a very long time, looking out over that sleeping 3am world outside, and it was while standing there that I was swept away with the realization that there was no going back. This was bigger than me. This little baby, above anything or anyone else in this world, was relying on me for his survival and his happiness. I made him a promise, standing there at that window, that I would do my best, listen my hardest, and love him without reserve no matter what. That I would protect him until he could protect himself. That he was mine and I was his, and that nothing was going to change that. That I would love him every day and that he would know, that I would tell him.
From 9 years ago to today, I look at my almost-1 year old and make him that same promise -- my baby who was born into love and candlelight, at home in the same bed where he sleeps between his parents each night. The same bed where his brothers slept before him. The room next to his brothers' room, where the trailblazers rest their heads and dream of schemes. I think about cycles, and circles, and milestones, and I anticipate what lies before him while celebrating where he is today.
Someday he'll be bigger, too, and running down the sidewalk to school yelling "I love you, Mom!" over his shoulder, as his brothers do now.
Just as my boys have their stages to grow through, Motherhood is one of my own. I don't know if I'm doing a good job or not with this Mom gig, but I'm certainly enjoying the ride. ;)