If you would have asked eight-year-old me how many kids I w as going to have, I would have answered "between six and eight." Younger me felt confident in eight so we could have a basketball team with sufficient substitutes and scorekeepers.
Clearly, I had no grasp on the details of motherhood.
Fast-forward to today and even as a new mother I still had no grasp what it meant to bring a life into this world.
I was only beginning to figure out the mysteries and beauty of my city. I hadn't had the opportunity to stretch any farther than that. How could a young girl in transition to autonomy hit the pause button on her journey to commit to someone else's?
It has the potential to be so stifling, which would shift my identity from who I was becoming into "mom." And it was the best hairpin turn that could have happened to me at that moment.
Being a mom is quite humbling. It begins with an acceptance of physical change to an emotional grow that, in hindsight, is impossible to comprehend.
People told me about this "mommy sense" that develops, and it's true. I can almost magically swipe my hand in front of her mouth before she knows she's about to lose her lunch all over my neighbor's new carpet.
Being a mother makes me a better version of myself. I watch what kind of food I pit into my body, and what words come out of my mouth. I think about the things from a perspective so I can break them down when she ask how the work or why they happen. I let the routine slide and the dishes pile up so we can play a bit longer.
As a mom, I pace myself, especially on walks. She shows me parts of life I've forgotten about the cause I grew up and I think I'm toot all to see them. Â
Being a mother gives me vivid moments driven by emotion, and those moments are so clear and so powerful in my memory. They are always small and relatively insignificant to anyone else: watching her sleep, running my hand over her glimmering hair in the sun, dipping her toes in the pool for the first time, tolerating her incessant urge to pick every dandelion ever, and sneaking a foster kitten into bed with her.
She is a constant source of comfort and happiness even when she has jam-covered hands or keeps me up all night.
It feels so good to be needed and to be loved. And the love she gives is unabridged.
I never realized being a mom would be the best part of me. Don't get me wrong; I don't think I'm even nominated for Mom of the Year. Yet I'm motivated to always improve.
She's only three years old now, but she has tested me, scared me, challenged me, humored me and encouraged me. All unintentionally I'm pretty sure.
She's sound asleep this afternoon in her big-girl bed. I am so proud of her for everything she is, and as I said before, I'm humbled. It's the human experience, and that's what I love about being a mom.Â