Naming a web site is not an easy task. I wanted a name that represented me, but was fun. I came up with a few different names, but found that they were already in use by clever mommy bloggers. See, finding a domain name that is available is it’s own feat. Finding a name that you love AND that is available takes some doing. I started doing free-writing, word association, nothing really got me there. Then I started reflecting on who I was as a person and the journey I’ve been on these last few years…
I spent much of my adult life not sure if I wanted to have children. Not because I didn’t like children, but because they are the greatest commitment you will ever make in your life. Everything else seems so trivial in comparison. Don’t like your job? Quit. Tired of your husband? Get a divorce. Don’t like being a mother? Well, you’re kind of stuck with that one. Sure, there is always adoption or running away to join the circus. But no matter how far you run, you have the knowledge that a child is out there. YOUR child. Creating life is irrevocable. The ultimate commitment. And the kicker is, you have to decide if you want to sign up for the rest of your life with no trial period. You don’t even get a test drive. You might say, “What about babysitting your friends kids?” That can only give you a tiny sneak peek into a moment of parenthood. It’s kind of like watching one minute of a scary movie while peeping between your fingers as your hands cover your eyes. You can handle that just fine, but can you handle watching the whole scary movie with your eyes wide open?
OK, that analogy was a little darker than I anticipated. I’m not saying having kids is like a horror movie, much.
My fear was that I would not be suited for motherhood. That I would regret my choice. The idea that those feelings might show on the surface and negatively impact my child TERRIFIED me. I kept putting off having kids so that I wouldn’t have to make the choice. After I finish school. After we buy a house. After I lose some weight. I kept finding reasons. Finally, after being married for six years, my body chose for me. Jack chose for me. I became pregnant and could no longer play the what-if game. I was going to be a mom.
It’s a very good thing that pregnancy lasts so long. It took me quite a while to get over the shock and come to grips with reality. Seeing the sonogram didn’t even make it sink it. After all, that could have been a video playing or a printed picture of someone else’s tummy. Yeah, I was irrational like that. It wasn’t until he started moving that I started to accept that this was really happening. My pregnancy was a crazy time. I was working full time, commuting two hours a day, selling a condo and buying a house. I was shopping for everything we needed and researching car seats and crib mattresses. I was strangely calm through it all. I had no stress. It’s like I had accepted that I was not really in control of anything and let it all go. I didn’t feel stressed, but I wasn’t exactly happy either. I talked to him, sang songs occasionally, ate right, took my vitamins, did all the things I was supposed to do, but it was coming from my brain, not my heart. I never had a moment to really reflect on what was coming. It wasn’t until I went on maternity leave six weeks before he was born that I really started to feel happy that he was coming. It was when I was alone with him, just me and my belly, all day, that I could start really connecting with him. We became best buddies. I talked more, sang more, and rubbed my belly more. I started to mother with my heart instead of just my actions.
When he was born, he was the most beautiful thing. I was so very grateful that he was here. I have been grateful every day since. I was still worried, but about different things. Was he warm enough? Too warm? Hungry? Tired? Was his crib comfortable enough? Did he like the fabric of the clothes I bought? Is he gaining enough weight?
I became a different person. The transformation had already begun during pregnancy, but it started to snowball after his birth. I wasn’t nearly the control freak I had been for most of my life. I was able to let things go. I was no longer quick to judge. Instead of grumbling under my breath about the slow poke in my lane on the freeway, I started thinking that maybe they had a new baby in the car and were nervous or maybe an angel had put them in my path to slow me down for a reason. I accepted change more readily. My perspective on life changed. Instead of wishing I had more money, or a bigger house, or a nicer car, I started feeling so very grateful for all that I had. And I started trying new things.
Growing up, I didn’t like to try new things. If I didn’t know before I started that I would be immediately successful, I just didn’t do it. Once Jack was born, the ultimate in trying something I didn’t know if I would be good at, it was like a gate had been unlocked. It started off simple enough. I was wrapping Jack up in a lovely hand-knit baby blanket we had received at his shower. I commented to my husband that I would love to be able to make something like that for him. So that he would have something his mommy made for him. My husband, my wonderful, encouraging husband, told me that I should learn how and make him one. He told me that he knew I could do it. I had tried crochet a few times and given it up immediately because I wasn’t fabulous at it instantly. My desire to make something for my baby, my new found courage and my husband’s support all collided at just the right time. When Jack was napping one day, I looked up “how to crochet” on YouTube (the most incredible source of information and learning resources on the web, I swear.) I spent a few days watching different videos until I found someone whose teaching style worked for me. A few weeks later, I had a beautiful baby blanket for my son. It wasn’t perfect, but I didn’t mind so much. I was happy I had done it, but as I was pointing out the imperfections to my husband, he stepped in again with just the right thing to say. He said, “The mistakes are the best part, because that’s how you know it was home made. Made with love, not bought from the store. If there weren’t any mistakes it wouldn’t be as special.” It was the most perfect thing he could have ever said to me. That entire experience has made me a fearless crafter. I have tried crocheting stuffed animals, baking unbelievable cakes, wreath making, sewing, I’m even tackling furniture refinishing. All confident in that being imperfect is not only OK, but embraced and loved.
My journey through motherhood thus far has led me through significant personal changes. I attribute all of it to Jack. He was the catalyst. He was and is my reason for everything I do and who I am continuing to evolve to be. He has shaped me in ways I could never have predicted. Sometimes my husband says teasingly, “who are you and what have you done with my wife?” I tell him, “I am the mom that Jack built.”