It's the dang-darn strangest thing~~~~~this thing that I realized earlier this week.
Four and a half years ago, when I stood in that cold public bathroom at CVS Pharmacy, with my size-4 denim overalls on and my hair in a childish ponytail, and I glanced down to see that fateful red line on MY pregnancy test, that is the moment I first knew I was a mother. Nine months later, when I held my 7 lb pink piglet, whom I'd just forever-named Wendy Lynn, and gazed into those cloudy but definitely big blue eyes, I knew again--- that I was a mother. As her four years have unfolded, moment by moment, and she's grown, and quite proudly I might add, out of diapers, bubble suits and noise machines, I, too, have evolved alongside her.......into someone else entirely.
Everyone knows the various ways in which a woman is forced to change as well as the ways in which she changes, naturally, once she becomes a mom. The first jolt of change comes with the territory of having that first baby--the unbelievable fatigue, the steep, STEEP learning curve, the awe and wonder of baby!!! After that amazing soar through the first canopy of motherhood, come higher and higher-still thresholds of learning....for the mother. "Motherhood doesn't get easier," a friend told me after I'd been caught crying in bed while my screaming infant could not, or would not, be soothed, "it just gets different." As I held my baby on my tear-sprinkled Boppy, I looked up at her face to try and discern her motive in telling me such a thing in that raw moment! Her face was a pleasant smile, and I know she loves her life, so I knew that this challenge was a great one to have, one that stretches, one that refines. I took those words, fashioned them into a new thought I could deal with at the time, "It doesn't get easier, it gets different, but different would be great right about now." Four months later, the magic age arrived, and baby's cries were finally rational! And then a new, not easier, but different, bend was around the corner.
Motherhood changes a woman. Remants of the former self remain, but new, necessary attributes overwhelm that nature-past, and present a new person altogether.
Lincoln was born last December, and becoming a mother to a little man with a very manly grin has split me in half now, and one half functions as mother to Wendy, and the other half mothers my infant son. The dance is delicate and not-yet mastered, for Big Sister is a jealous Big Sister, but this mother that types these thoughts is still---changing. You think this is my point. It's not.
Earlier in the week, I shopped at HEB, by myself as James had the kids at home, and I stood luxuriously before the choices of breads, savoring the peace and quiet when two college girls infringed on my "me time." I couldn't help but hear their banter. One girl said to the other, with the most pitiful voice, "I need a boy. I want a boy. I'm bored." I discreetly glanced at her from the side. This girl looked forlorn. She looked lost. Her friend, seemingly disinterested, just kind of "uh-huh'ed." I instantly recalled a similar conversation I'd witnessed a few weeks ago, at a different grocery store. One friend, with smeared mascara and wrinkled party clothes, said to the other, "Why did you let me go to that party last night?! I SO shouldn't have bla bla bla."
On both of these occasions, I wondered, "Where is this child's mom? Where is her family?"
I was surprised to feel like their mother!!! WHAT?! I'm only almost 32! I'm not really old enough to be their mother! But, I felt protective. Is that whacked?! Because I remind myself that about 10 or so years ago, I was still a college student, in this town. I had friends. I was there! But, hearing words like these today---I fear for them. I somehow know that some of these adult-looking people will go on to make more mistakes until they hopefully fall into grace and are no longer bored or remorseful. I came home. I told James. And I prayed for them. And I just embraced the fact that perhaps, as we reach this point in life, it's okay to care for the entirety of mankind (even if it makes you feel like a school-marm)~~~Maybe loving others, through my mother's eyes and with my mother's heart...isn't such a bad thing.