The fall season has always been the most amazing, magical three months of the year for me ever since I could remember. It probably has something to do with having my birthday during that time, and later included my anniversary at the same time but it also had to do with the fall leaves, Thanksgiving, Halloween and the first snow. It became even more special when it became my season of motherhood 29 years ago. I think back on that time and I remember it as a time of wonder and fear and determination not to mess this up.
It’s hard to put into words what it feels like to have your body accept the fact that for nine months, life will be about taking care of something beyond oneself. I did research and yoga and stopped drinking coffee and wine. I took vitamins and slept in and read whatever books on parenting I could get my hands on although there really is no manual that truly prepares you. I grew a child inside of me and then I grew another. How lucky I have been, how favored I have felt. Why was I blessed with this gift when so many other worthy women were denied? Is it just nature or is it fate or something bigger than any of us could ever imagine? Whatever is at play allowed me to experience that indescribable state of being that I know has little to do with biology. Motherhood.
The biggest realization I had once I held that baby was that this was it. I was responsible for this life, this tiny being, for the rest of mine. It was frightening and I wasn’t sure I could do it. And yet the choice had been made. I was a mother. I am a mother. It is a role I willingly accepted and was gratefully granted. I could not have asked for more amazing children. I have had to learn that children are not always what you want them to be but they are how they were meant to be. I have doubted myself so many times. I have been in many situations as a mother that were fraught with ruminating over the actions taken, the words spoken and fearing the worst outcome. I have often felt I was not the right mother for my children but then at other times I was. And what did it matter? I am their mother. For better, for worse. Forever.
I often think of my own mother and motherhood. How often I wished for a reset button so that I could have handled a situation better. I have been accused of treating my children differently and I accept that. They are different. And if we celebrate their differences then we cannot be punished for different treatment of them. That has caused some tensions and anger and spiteful words. I get it. I am certain I was not the child my own mother could relate to and I am sure she felt the same confusion I have felt at times. That comes with the job. But we have always loved each other. Parenting is not about wanting cookie cutter children. It’s about embracing the lives of those you have been gifted with.
I am so proud and grateful for my children and yes still profoundly afraid for them in this wild, unpredictable world. But all of their decisions are out of my hands. My hovering and worry did nothing stop the passage of time or to hold back the scary things that did cross our paths and threaten to derail us. I realize in many ways worry is wasted energy yet perhaps it is the only thing I have had control of. When I do let it go, it comes as a great relief although it never lasts as long as I hope. No one ever promised me a rose garden and even if they did, those beauties are full of thorns too.
Mother, mommy, mom. It’s a role I have to relearn every day. It’s a wish and a prayer. It’s hope and joy and deep down fear. It’s many, many stumbles and trying to get it right when there is no clear right. It’s basic and it’s human. I have to forgive myself for that. For maybe not being the mother that I had hoped to be or the one I should be. But I am who I am meant to be. For better, for worse. Forever.