I still find it hard to believe, but I have been on this mothering journey for nearly seven years. Seven years exactly come 4:15pm on Wednesday. After all these years, and despite this having been a very much planned, hoped for and wanted pregnancy, I still wake up sometimes marvelling at how my life has changed. How my family has changed. How that tiny little baby with the matchstick fingers has grown into a real boy. A sports-obsessed boy who's not half-bad with a soccer ball (where did he get that, certainly not from his parents...). How he's been joined by a sister who loves singing and dancing and Dora and Mickey Mouse. And ice cream. They both love ice cream. (So does their mother for that matter.)
My life has changed so much since he arrived in our lives, but I think that inside I have changed even more. I can barely remember what life was like before (though I do have vague recollections of being more rested and less sticky). I am more patient (most of the time) than I would have ever dreamed possible. I get more pleasure out of shopping for my children than I do out of shopping for myself. (Though I think all that extra weight they helped pack on me may account for that - why can't there be some way to preserve the beautiful inner changes without all the not so beautiful external ones?). I know what unconditional love is, and I know about raw fear. I can spend hours poring over birthday cake pictures or choosing the perfect party favor just to put a smile on my child's face as he proudly hands them out at school, even though I know that the silly little favor from the dollar store will be all but forgotten in a day or two.
I've learned that I can be soft, and that I can be hard. I learned that these mothering instincts extend to the children of strangers as well when I ran in to swoop an unsuspecting toddler out of the way of a high flying swing while his babysitter chatted on her cellphone without a care in the world (note to self: do not hire this babysitter). I've learned to be more giving and less selfish. I've learned the importance of setting boundaries, and the importance of allowing those boundaries to bend when understanding is what's needed. I've learned that no two days will ever be the same. Never the same, and never predictable. My world has changed, and I have changed with it.
Into a mother.
And I thank my lucky stars for that every single day.
The Writers Island prompt for this week is changed.