I am surprised almost daily by the fact that I am the mom in a house with two kids in it. How can it be?
I remember feeling my clock ticking. I remember wanting a baby. I never, not once, remember wanting to get up so very early in the morning. I don't think I ever wished for a never empty laundry basket. I don't remember thinking it would be great to referee squabbling kids twelve hours of the day. I'm not complaining necessarily, simply musing that I didn't think this all the way through.
For the first fifteen years that I worked, I often worked with the elderly, many of whom were facing permanent disability or even the end of their life. Almost all of them would want to impart some wisdom to me. The most commonly shared wisdom was that you should live your life to the fullest while you're young and healthy. I was told time and time again of the shock it is to find that your mind is forty but your body is eighty. I remember very clearly the first time I looked in the mirror shocked to see someone much older than I expected to see. I know first hand now that my body will not always let me do the things I expect it to (at least on first attempt.) I accept these changes. I don't fight the relentless and inevitable clock. Except for in parenting.
If I bound out of bed without looking at a mirror I can easily feel twenty four. Thinking about my day, I can imagine a latte and a book, some time at the gym, a rewarding and fulfilling job to go to, a movie, a shower, a date with my hubby, a hike on the mountain, travel. Anything. Everything.
So when a child shouts "Mom, where are my undies?" Or asks if we can talk about getting your period or wants to know how she can speak to a kid who has been unkind or wants to know when we will eat or where her favorite stuffy is, I am sometimes deeply confused about the fact that I am the mom of whom these things are being asked.
At the park the other day, the kids were happily playing and so I took the opportunity to sit on a bench in the sun and read. I was so lost in the bliss that I forgot what had brought me there and felt simply me. Two tweens came towards me, they were talking animatedly as they got closer I heard one say "and then my mom has to ruin it by saying...." he looked up at me and stopped talking. His friend gave him knowing nod and they walked passed me in silence. As soon as they were, what they perceived to be far enough away, he continued "so then my stupid mom says..."
It hit me like a punch to the stomach. He had stopped talking because he immediately recognized me as one of her team. Had you re-wound the clock and asked me paint the picture I would have been a young woman, sitting on a bench in the sun, reading a great book. That's not what they saw though - they clearly saw a mom.
I am so happy and grateful to be a mom but it still surprises me. The responsibility is daunting, even shocking at times - I sometimes forget that it is mine - that it will get more complex and challenging as they get older and I will be expected to have the answers. Me. How can I have the answers? I'm still just that girl who likes music and dancing and wants to see the world. How can I possibly know what to do or say. I suppose I'll figure it out on the way but I suspect I will continue to have the wind knocked out of me somedays