Friday, February 8, 2013

Lessons in Motherhood

Being a parent changes you. We all know that. We have heard it a million times. When I became a mama, I expected to take on the role of teacher. Teach her how to walk, talk, manners, sharing, potty training, adding and subtracting, driving, you name it. One of my roles forever and always would be teacher. As a daughter, even at almost 25 years old, my mom still teaches me things, and I call on her when I am faced with something and just don't know the answer.

What I wasn't prepared for though is to be taught.

She has taught me how to apologize. I can hold a grudge like no other and I very rarely would admit when I was wrong. "I'm sorry" was certianly not in my vocabulary. Until I became a mama. She teaches me almost daily to humble myself and truly apologize. Sometimes after a long night at work, little sleep at night, or just too many tasks to fit into the hours of a day, I become short fused. I may snap at her for something that usually wouldn't have been THAT big a deal. The look on her face is like daggers to my heart. And I know it's not her fault that I am on edge. It's mine. And I can't take it out on her. So I (literally) drop to my knees, hold her hand, tell her "mommy is very sorry" give her a hug and kiss, promise to get myself in check & ask her to forgive me. She's 2. Of course she smiles, hugs me back, and I am forgiven. It won't always be that easy. But I am glad to get this time to practice without fear of her rejection.

Which brings me to my next lesson... forgiveness. There is nobody more pure or forgiving than a chid. Her heart amazes me. She loves me so much. I want to be more forgiving like her. She is teaching me, but I admit I am a tough pupil on this subject. In fact, right now, I am struggling to forgive after some harsh words my dad spoke last week. We have barely spoken since... and we live together so that's saying something. I wish I could forgive him the way she forgives me. Even without him asking for it. She is working on this hard heart of mine though...

On a lighter note, I have learned that I am actually very warm. During my marriage, I always begged my husband to let me put my hands up his shirt because he was so warm & I was always so cold. He squirmed and squealed when my ice cold fingers touched his chest, but he never said no. (I guess that's a happy memory I can hold on to) Well, the other morning I was startled awake when 5 little ice cold toddler toes found their way down the back of my pants. Holy Wake Up Call!! But you know what? If my baby is cold, then I am glad I can warm her up. And her giggles when I hollered made it all worth it.

She is teaching me to appreciate the little things. I can remember saying when all of this first happened "I wish anything made me as happy as (balls, bubbles, picking flowers, etc) makes her". And slowly but surely, she is teaching me to find that kind of happiness in the everyday things. Like her genuine smiles, or the tenderness with which she rocks her baby dolls & kisses them night night, or the excitement on her face when I leave and then come back, or the reminder that going back to work hasn't hurt our bond at all when she only wants me to potty her or kiss her boo boos or give her bath. I find joys in watching her imagination grow, and see her wanting to "help" with laundry or dishes or picking up toys, or serving everyone "sock soup" in her play kitchen. She is growing and changing and developing into a little girl. And I did that. And everyday I am finding my heart softening and noticing myself smiling more. She is showing me to focus on the things that make me happy & let that be what I focus on each day rather than things that are out of my control & hurting me.

These are 2 of my favorite photos from Aubrey's 1st and 2nd birthday photo sessions. I love being her mama and I love that I am fortunate to have sweet moments with her captured forever.

So mamas, what has your littles taught you? Do you find yourself surprised by how much you really do rely on them? Did you expect to learn so much from such a tiny little person?
Someone from my past recently reached out to me again. We quit being friends a few years ago so she doesn't know the "mommy" Julianne. I don't know if we will be friends again. Or if I even want to. But she is a mom now too & while we were texting I said "I like myself to much better now as a mom than before" and after I sent it, it hit me what I really said. And just how true that statement is. I don't think the mommy me would even want to be friends with the pre-mommy me. I like who I am now so much better than the person I was before. Surely I'm not the only one that looks back and feels that way, right?

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