Mother’s Day 2023

When I started to learn about bloggging a Mommy blogger talked about how she wanted so badly to have a place to write out her experiences as a mom right in this moment, because she wishes she could hear her mom’s voice from specific moments. Every family and every individual has a set of stories they know, milestones they can produce evidence from, and circumstances that formed their reality. But what about the random Tuesday? What was the morning routine like? Sure as kids we have a few things we feel to be true about our day to day life, but what were our parents thinking? So on this Mother’s day, what is it like for me?

The setting: I am a single mom, my baby girl is 3, I have a full time career (with a role that is in the “can you imagine if this happened” category), live with my parents, have a 1 year old puppy, and am on a personal mission to find what God wants….. what I want and how to make the two match or coexist or flush mine and go with his (my brain is a confusing place). Real talk – there are aspects of my life that are better than I thought they could be, there are parts of my life that are opposite of what I ever thought possible, but mostly there is just a lot that is somewhere in-between. As I look to move Shannon, Oliver and I out on our own in potentially this year, there is a feeling of “getting back to me” that has a lot of excitement. I liked having my own house. Then on the the other hand, the reality that my laundry won’t get any help and the chance at a backyard for running and playing with a grounds keepers we call Nana and Grandad, not likely. On my healthy days, on my days where my mind feels clear, my heart feels full, and my spirit settled – I truly see life this way: there is a good and bad and each new choice, decision and chapter will hold both.

So what is motherhood like in this season? In its simplest form it is the exact same as the moment I met Shannon: wild. My first “I am a mom” moment came within the first 24 hours Shannon was here. She was born around 2AM on a Thursday and this was somewhere between midnight and 2am on Friday. My epidural and worn off and I was able to walk a bit. My mom who was my plus one for this event, was finally able to rest and sound asleep on the cot. She had been up with little to eat since Tuesday evening check in and finally was able to lay down. It was COVID (in its earliest form and full of scary), so my plan had been to keep Shannon in the room with me. Suddenly that little burrito was not happy and it is still so brand new, I was actually intrigued more than worried or overwhelmed (yet… that comes!). I scooped her up and started pacing the room a bit. I held her flat against me so I could pull her back and look at her little face. I remember seeing her lose it and wanting to watch for a minute. Soak it in…. remember it. This little nugget had been wanted and prayed for and dreamt about for so long I was determined to memorize it all- even her very angry face. I remember being almost out of my body for a second because I was so shocked by how round her little face was, how full those cheeks, and how red she could make her face – before I was at all worried about what it may mean. In fact, I even chuckled a little in her sweet and innocent – but oh so sad face. This is our first middle of the night and you are not happy and I am clueless. And that was it: welcome to motherhood.

March 26, 2020 You are Here

Eventually I dialed back in and was surprised by my next few actions. Repositioning her to hold her tighter, shhhhh in her ear, even surprising myself as I started to sing a little (where did THAT come from??). But these steps just sort of came to me and felt like good options without a lot of wondering or debate. And I thought, and there it is – I am a mom in both the circumstances of the scenario (middle of the night and sad newborn) and in my reflexes (I guess I do sort of know what to do). This little bump in confidence came more often than I thought and yet when it was absent, it also felt incredibly worse than I would have ever thought. The rational side of you knows that with such an important role, you are gonna feel like a fish out of water at some point…. yet when it is happening, you’re shocked by the painful frustration or guilt or bizarre mix of it all. You’re overwhelmed by your reactions: sometimes I could take it in stride and be happy “I am a mom”…. sometimes I was mad at myself: I have done hard things, I can do this. And then another layer of mad at yourself for every originally being mad. It goes on from there.

In those first few moments I think I received the lesson that is motherhood: there will be instances that it will take you a few moments to realize where you are….. there will be things you just sort of know…. and then there will be things that surprise you (and in the good moments, they are just that: a surprise… but in the hard ones, surprise will feel a lot like failure). Each stage has them…. each season changes them…. and the gift of this relationship: it will go on and on like that forever.

Those little cheeks March 2020

Right now, the one thing that stands out the most: you are no longer an extension of me. From itty bitty to even it feels like the last few months: you were an extension of me. From mirroring back a smile when you first learned to focus your eyes to asking “mommy am I a good girl”. You just wanted to reflect back what you were being given. Late 2 to early 3 and you still want to reflect it back and you still ask me that question, but you are also very interested in you. I don’t know whether to call it your own perspective or your own experience, or your growth. Whatever it is, you have discovered you have your own personality, ideas, and and opinions…. and thus you are showing this realization too. Shannon you are your own person with your own life and I suspect I will spend a lot of the reminder of my motherhood slightly surprised about this reality and doing my best to accept it.

The gifts of it: I love you girl. You are funny, kind, sensitive, strong willed, beautiful and I am in awe that God paired us up. The hard: parenting isn’t going to be about my ability to build you a certain way….. it is going to be about the gift of how to guide you. And the reality: the amount of that guiding will be forever changing.

First Mother’s Day (2nd transplant day… so only picture) May 2020

My a-type desires a set of grades or report card for my performance. But the part of me that wants to truly embrace that this isn’t a class that will have an end, God willing, but a relationship that demands doing your best, pivoting, learning, growing, saying sorry and the willingness to do it over and over and over again. So instead I will say this: what I want is to slow down and memorize it a little more. I knew in that hospital room that was a first and a moment I would never get back. All moments are actually points in time you will never get back…. but this should not be a scary truth, but rather a chance to remember it can’t be predetermined or perfect, because so little is known about what life holds day to day. Enjoy it a little more…. that just might help me find some of that hidden mom confidence. And when I can’t stop in every moment, well then I just want to do my best to work on patience and verbalizing the powerful love that motivates the whole machine….. even the parts filled with guilt. It all comes from love and that can always be shown well, when you try.

Second Mother’s Day 2021

And what I am proud of: I am learning from you. The specific little person God created you to be is one that teaches me, and has made life so beautiful. That has been the good parts: I just want more and more of life with you. Its a feeling that catches me off guard, especially when I thought motherhood was a certain recipe, formula, life…. and its mostly hot mess express. And yet, I want more of you…. because deep down inside, I am still that 24 hour old mom who is just so surprised you are here and wants to experience it all with you.

Third Mother’s Day May 2022

Thank you, Shannon for making me a mom! I love you my girl more than I can ever express…. but I am going to guess, I will never stop trying.

Fourth Mother’s Day May 2023

Thank you so much for reading and remember to make it a great day!

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