Becoming a mom has been the single most defining moment of my life thus far. I never knew how much I wanted to be a mom, but I suppose it should have been obvious. As a child, when people asked what I wanted to be when I grew up I always went back and forth between being a vet and an actress. (Because it turns out I don't do well with blood I suppose I could have been an actress playing a vet.) I never answered that question with I want to be a parent. However, the games my sisters and I used to play over and over always had to do with being a mom. Playing "house" was a favorite. This meant each of our rooms became the house where we took care of our babies. The stairs were the car where we would pretend to strap our children in while running to the bank, grocery store and other errands. The dads were always at work and we cooked and cleaned and took care of these kids (aka various baby dolls with botched hair cuts). We loved it. Barbies was another thing we played all the time and the storyline was the same. Only with Barbies the dolls were the mamas with their kids and we'd set up elaborate houses for them. And change their clothes over and over because that's always fun. The Ken doll was quickly tossed to the side. We would play this for days. Much like a kid who wants to become a baseball player plays the summer away. I suppose in this way I got to do exactly what I dreamt about as a kid. Of course there are obvious differences. I certainly don't have Barbie's wardrobe. The dad is very much a part of the picture, and while he works full-time, this mama also works. I don't go to the bank nearly as often as in the house playing days and I don't spend all day cooking and cleaning, although some days it does feel like that. I wouldn't change a thing about it. Getting to be the mom to these girls feels like exactly what I am supposed to be doing. I feel really good at it. I've had lots of jobs over the years, jobs I've really liked and doing things I'm good at. But, loving my girls feels like something I'm best at. Of course I question my parenting decisions plenty. After a decade of experience I still wonder how much exactly I am screwing them up. However, the one thing I know I'm doing right is loving them. Taking it day by day...moment by moment and trying to make the best decisions we can. Trying hard to not worry about what the future holds, but feeling secure in what happened today. Knowing each day is an opportunity to love and parent in the best way I know. If it's not a great day...maybe my patience was short, maybe I was distracted and truly only spent a few moments of quality time with them...I know it's okay because the next day is a fresh start. A chance to try again.
I see signs of future mama's in these girls. They don't call it playing house but the game is the same. They call it mommy and babies and rather than driving to the bank they're often driving through the coffee shop for a mocha and pulling out old gift cards to pay for it. The daddy's are still at work but they "send a quick text" mid day to check on them. Same goes for Barbie's, although now she has a pretty kick-ass house...different than the houses we made for them with whatever toys and boxes were laying around. We recently kept my sisters kitten for the night and I watched Ava snuggle this thing for 24 hours straight. Holding it like a tiny baby, shushing it quietly to keep him calm. What a little mama she is, was the thought that crossed my mind.
Today we celebrated Mother's Day. Not a "real" holiday, but it's fun to take a moment to acknowledge and celebrate the moms. It's wonderful to be woken up to homemade gifts and cards from the girls. To handwritten poems...from Layla "Mom, you are nice. You are a great cook. I love you to the moon and back. I'm so lucky to have you as my mom." From Ava "You're my mother no one can change that I am glad for that. I love you more than you know." I'll take that any day. It's nice to watch Matt try to make sure I don't lift a finger all day and get to do exactly what I want. Which means getting to go for a hike with the family without anyone objecting. To take some time wandering on the trail and exploring.
It was nice to spend the morning having brunch with my mom and sisters and all the kiddos. The women who mean so much to me and are like other mothers to my babes as I am to theirs. To go visit my grandma and see generations of family all in the same room. How very lucky I am to be surrounded by all this love. Yes, it is a day to celebrate indeed.
We bought a hammock for the summer. I've been wanting one for years and this year we finally splurged. It showed up on the coolest day we've had in awhile...even a few snowflakes were fluttering down. Too excited to wait for the weather to turn we put it up in the garage. It was moved quickly once the sun peeked out this weekend. Saturday afternoon the girls and I lounged in it for hours. Reading, talking, snuggling. Today I couldn't find the girls and looked outside and saw this...
No fighting, just calm peaceful togetherness. I imagine many summer days will be spend in this thing. I consider that a very good investment into our family.
Happy Mother's Day to all the mama's out there.