Mother, May I?

Being a mother is the best thing I’ve ever been. And not for the reasons you probably think.

Not because my daughter “completes” me or makes me whole or brings me some sort of elusive happiness that was hovering on the periphery of my life, just out of grasp. 

No, being a mother is the best thing I’ve ever been because every time I look at my daughter, I know with conviction that courses through my blood and bones that she brings something good to the world, that she is a light and a hope. I’m sorry if that sounds cheesy or simple-minded. I don’t mean for it to. But in a world full of evil and hate and uncertainty, the knowledge that she is love in human form softens even my jaded, hardened views.

I was never certain I wanted to be a mother. I wasn’t the little girl who played with baby dolls or that teenager who babysat all the neighborhood kids and couldn’t wait to grow up and start her own family. I always worried I lacked maternal instinct. When acquaintances had babies, I was always so unsure of myself around them. Do you hold them this way? <awkward shifting> Or more like this? What if I drop him? What if she starts screaming, what do I do then? Before V came along, I’d never even changed a diaper.

I also worried about whether I could be a mother. Would biology cooperate? My body laid some obstacles in my path, and I wasn’t sure how serious they might turn out to be.

And then, on top of everything else, is the fact that when it comes right down to it, I’m pretty selfish. I wish I weren’t, but I really am. I love “me” time. I love to travel. I love buying fun, new things. 

Was I really cut out to be a mom?

Yes. The answer, the beautiful, unequivocal answer is a resounding, echoing, ringing-through-the-ages yes. 

The minute V was born, everything changed. I looked at that squirming, cooing little human and, like the beloved Grinch, my heart grew three sizes. I couldn’t believe we had created this magnificent tiny creature so full of possibility. And I think that’s what I’ve loved most: I feel like she is the best thing I’ve ever done and that she has the power to do so much good. Honestly, I feel she already has. She helps me to see the good in the world, in others, in myself. 

If I helped bring into the world an extra beam of sunlight, an extra smile, an extra heart to care for those who need it, then I have done something real and something right. Something worthwhile.

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