I've always been a mother in my heart. As a child, I nurtured my collection of Cabbage Patch dolls, always ensuring they were well fed, well dressed, and mostly well loved. I had a slew of imaginary friends and though I was always a bit bossy, I also cared very much for them and was saddened when I told them they had to go away, that I was too old for imaginary friends.
In college I became an RA, in charge of a flock of freshman girls who needed reining in after being turned loose by their nervous parents. (Being a motherly type takes a little bit of bossiness and a sense that you might just know better than these other people what's best for them!)
I loved children, babysitting at the early age of twelve up through college. I was well-educated, but I just wanted to hang out with little preschoolers all day, soaking in their naive wisdom.
When Dan and I decided to get married, it took extreme restraint not to get pregnant immediately. I wanted babies. But I also wanted to be comfortable in our marriage. So we waited six months (which seems laughable now!). We got pregnant within a couple of months, and I couldn't wait until Mother's Day (which was a couple weeks away) to share our incredible joy with our families (who I knew would be a little less than enthused - my dad thought waiting until my late 30s was the appropriate time to have kids). Unfortunately, soon after learning I was pregnant, I miscarried. I was devastated, in a way that only someone who has lost a pregnancy can understand. From the minute that you learn you are pregnant, your entire mentality switches, your mind creating hopes and dreams for a child who is just a small bundle of cells.
We started trying again, and I thought we would get pregnant easily. We didn't. The maternal side of my being felt like it was being choked, and I was unable to understand why so many people could get pregnant accidentally when I so longed for a baby of my own.
Nine months later I was pregnant again. Scared, but pregnant. I tried to refrain from creating expectations of this child before I knew that he was ok. Every fall scared me, sure that I had forever harmed this child. I just wanted to protect him.
I spent hours researching baby stuff. I wanted the best, the safest. We spent hours working on his nursery, painting the walls, painting my old dresser, organizing his clothes.
And then we came home to all of it flattened, burned, ash.
The sense of security I had tried so hard to create and protect was gone. And if I couldn't protect him, what could I give him? So I give him love.
I know how fast life can change. I know that the winds can come up over the hill bringing with them destruction. I know that none of us can be sure of tomorrow. So I do my best to show Kellen as much love as I can today, to ensure that I've taught him everything he needs to know for this moment. That's what we celebrate today. Appreciating today, knowing that we are all doing our best for this moment.
Happy Mother's Day.