"I always wanted kids - more than all other things. Not very Harvard Business School of me, I know. There are other things I want to do, big crazy things, like make a movie and build an artists' compound and fix my printer. But at night, in the years before I met your dad, when I was talking to a God I wasn't sure I really believed in, I whittled down all my requests to one: children. You."
~ Kelly Corrigan, "Lift"
I read Kelly's book in one hour one night after the kids went to bed. Granted it's only 82 pages long, but I couldn't put it down. I highlighted a lot of words, doggy-eared a lot of pages and could probably quote the whole thing right here for you. It's as if she spoke my heart.
I have always - above all else - wanted to be a mom. I was never worried about my career although when I dreamed up what I would do someday, my career ideas involved kids. I wanted to be an elementary school teacher. And then when I stopped liking school so much, I decided I wanted to run my own daycare. I read every book in the Babysitter's Club series and then tried starting my own club one summer, sticking flyers in every mailbox in our neighborhood. And then for a brief stint, I wanted to be a labor/delivery nurse. I quickly banished that idea due to my fear of blood and my tendency to get really attached to small babies and animals. (The nurses don't get to actually take the babies home with them, you know). My childhood years were filled with pretend play with dolls, and my parents still have my first baby doll in storage -- a dirty little thing I named Ashley when I was still sleeping in a crib, myself. For some reason I always carried her around without her clothes on. That's still a head-scratcher for everyone who knew me then.
And then as I got older and entered junior high and high school, my passion for athletics and writing took over and I entered into what I thought would be my destined job arena. Working with sports administration or athletics media relations of some sorts. I spent my college years immersed in that world - a world I loved and was good at. Work rarely felt like work, and I thought I had found my home as far as careers go.
But then it all changed - almost over night. Right as I was entering my senior year - getting ready to graduate and start applying for real jobs - my desires and my priorities shifted. Before I even met Cody, I felt a tugging at my heart and returned to what I had always known deep down. I wanted a family. I wanted time to have a family. I wanted to be a mom - a mom that was involved in the day-to-day details of her children's world. Those in the athletics field know that the hours can be brutal, inconvenient and not at all flexible. You don't get weekends. You very often don't get evenings. And holidays and birthdays can often be spent on a plane or a bus. I didn't have my family yet. But I knew I needed to be prepared to have one. So I gave up my passion and my first career of choice and started preparing myself for something else entirely. And then I met Cody. And the rest is history.
My passion for writing and athletics is still there. And I know I'd still be really good at it. I miss my years spent in that world and maybe someday I will get back to it. But I wouldn't change anything. I have no regrets. I don't feel as though a sacrifice was made -- but rather, a choice was made. Life is full of choices. I made the right one.
And I'm so glad I get to be their mom. It is such important work - the most important job I will ever have.
Kelly said it so well,
"I am your mother, the first mile of your road. Me and all my obvious and hidden limitations. That means that in addition to possibly wrecking you, I have the chance to give to you what was given to me: a decent childhood, more good memories than bad, some values, a sense of a tribe, a run at happiness. You can't imagine how seriously I take that... Mothering you is the first thing of consequence that I have ever done."
I believe I was made for motherhood. The desire for this life was in me at such a young age. It was always my dream, and I'm living it.
"Who will look at you like I do? I think about your futures a lot. I often want to whisper to you... 'Remember this. This is what love feels like. Don't take less.' But what I end up saying is,
'This was my dream. You were my dream.'"
'This was my dream. You were my dream.'"
Jaden and Brandon, thanks for being mine. My dream. My chance at being a mommy. The little people I didn't know I was always being molded and prepared for... and waiting my whole life to love. I love you so. You are my greatest adventure.
(pictures courtesy of our stop for chocolate shakes before dinner, post-daycare pickup -- for no reason at all other than it was a Thursday... and why not?)