23 May 2013

mama-day (a couple of weeks late)

3 years ago, this little man made me a Mama.

Those moments were so vulnerable, so heart warming and so beyond my post-birth comprehension, I really wasn't sure what was going on. I had no idea how to be a mom to a tiny, completely needy baby and was scared to death. I was in love and so, so full of joy, but I was scared. Even the look on my face is like "Wow, look at this cool thing. Did it really come out of me? What do I do now? Where does he go? How do I DO this?!" haha.

I wish I could say those first few months were easy. That he slept and ate and that was about all. That he never cried and slept through the night by 6 weeks.

But ya know, I can't. Because the mom's who say that, might not be completely honest and also because that's just not how it went down.

And I'm okay with it. 

In those 12am, and 3am, and 5am feedings I felt like I was thrown in the deep end and like someone's mom needed to come get their baby, haha. But it bonded us, it thrust me into motherhood, every single ounce of me. I had no choice.

I fought for that bond with my first born, I knew it was there and fought through the mugginess of hormones and exhaustion and adjustment in our marriage. I fought for that beautiful moment that mom's talk about when they place the baby in your arms. I knew it existed, but honestly, I wasn't feelin' it. I loved him, but that kind of love; the depth of that kind of love was beyond my understanding.

Mostly though, I fought through my intense selfish nature because man, I had no idea how selfish I was until I had a baby. I thought I was a fairly giving person, but I had no idea what giving looked like. Until him. 

He entered my world and has not stopped rockin' it. I love it, I do. And I wouldn't trade one single thing. Not even the middle of the night feedings (up until he weaned) or the spirited nature he carries with him. As he's grown, I've grown and it's like Jesus has given me this mini-person to remind that "yeah, mel. you do that too. only in a more age appropriate way. (sometimes)" because I totally have my own kind of meltdowns. I do.

Jesus used Jack to gently heal our hurting hearts and calm those fears of wonder if we'd ever be able to have a baby. He used his birth to remind me that I don't need to be in control and as adventurous and noble as a natural birth is, there's no need for me to do that when modern medicine is so amazing. He used his nature to remind me (again and again) to show grace. To love and cuddle an extra minute so that when those moments are gone (because they go, so fast.) I can look back and know that I hugged him as long as he would let me and comforted him rather than letting him cry alone. I try to remind myself (and John does too) that we're all works in progress. That this job as a Mama is hard, really hard and many times a day I feel like I've totally failed and officially ruined my kid. But there's always that reminder in the back of my head "we're all a work in progress, our kids and ourselves. Give us grace to start a day new."

One thing is certain. My boy is a great first born. He is strong, independent, fierce, brave, spirited, hilarious, fun-loving, friendly, fast, passionate and gracious. He was so worth waiting for, so worth bonding with and I am so thankful to be his mama.


Our sweet Zoey is another story, but she also made me a mama in a completely different life altering way. 

I really love friendship. I love what it means to sit down for a cup of coffee (or tea as a little girl.) I love sharing life, stories, hurts and triumphs. That being said, when I found out I was having a girl a deep fear rose within me. I was pretty certain I was/is gonna mess her up. I'm gonna want to be her friend and she won't want that and than she's going to resent me and we'll be dysfunctional and on and on. I was afraid in effort to try to be her friend I would hurt her, or she would hurt me and I'm a sensitive soul deep down. Ok, not too deep down, who am I kidding? I pretty much wear my heart on my sleeve. 

But after some incredible counseling and guidance on how to live in freedom and a life of healthy boundaries, I began to really embrace this beautiful miracle of a baby girl. I still sometimes wonder how we'll do when she's a teenager or when she she gets her first heartbreak and mostly I wonder how I'll one day let her go, but today I know that God's grace covers that and He knows how it will go. Today I just love on her little self because I can already tell that she is sensitive and is meant to be protected and cherished.

All that to say, girls do still scare me. Seeing 6 year old girls scares me. 6 year old boys, not so much. Not because girls are better or more desired than boys or anything, oh no. It just takes motherhood to this next level. Boys are a lot of hands on work and there's still such a huge responsibility, but girls. Man, somehow I carried on my own shoulders this responsibility that my girl would have a good handle on her self confidence, be comfortable in her own skin, show grace to others, love the out-siders that need a friend and yet somehow keep her heart from silly boys (preferably bad boys who act mysterious, but really they're just messing with you, you know the ones) and keep her from mean girls that put her down to make themselves feel better.

But, we all know no one can do all that. And yet somehow when I found out I was having a daughter I instantly wanted to protect her from that pain; the reality of being a woman in America, in the world. I can't keep her from any sort of pain, but this responsibility to raise her to love Jesus and herself just the way she is...heavy.

Thankfully, since that moment, I've realized how every day I need to give her over to Jesus because it's not my job to keep her from life, but prepare her the best I can to face it head on and be all like, "Bring it on, world!" Because only He can carry it and handle it for her. The best example I could ever give her. (Maybe I should try to learn that first?) 

Also, I realized it will take a village to raise a girl. A tribe of other mama's who have a heart for their daughters to find their identity in Christ and not in people and things and approval. It will take lots and lots of prayer and listening and grace and healthy boundaries that are okay when they just want to be left alone.

Oh man, I am getting ahead of myself. Surprise, surprise.

All that to say, having Jack catapulted me into motherhood and having Zoey made me realize I could not raise a daughter alone. 'Cause a girl's heart is sacred and precious and needs to be protected. I couldn't do it without support, not without intentional change that my own heart needed in order to love her and in effort not to wound her. And not without the grace to let go of my crazy ideals, 'cause those always seem to get me into trouble.

I'm truly not surprised how much I love being Zoey's mom. I never questioned how much I would love it, I just wondered how on earth I could keep my heart from exploding. Each birth has made motherhood more rich, more challenging and more of an adventure. It truly is an honor and one I try not to take for granted. Each little life had been prayed for and cried over and rejoiced over. Each pregnancy had been full of highs and lows and pain and fear. Each little life has taught me more and more of God's perfect plan and that His will, not mine is much better (even though its so hard to say in it.) I am so thankful for their little lives and that I get to be their mama.


r.martin said...

My Dear Gordo,

you are addorable! and so are those precious babies of yours!! I love your guts, and I am so very proud of you and of who you are!! I am so blessed by you, and I thank the Lord everyday that he brought us together all those years ago(13 to be honest!! WOW! We are getting old!) Your friendship is one of things I cherish most in life!! I am so greatful and filled with joy that your life dream of being a mom has been fufilled, praise the Lord!!!

All my love, VernO!

Roxanne said...

Mel, there is such graceful truth in your words. In my experience with our students and my sisters kiddos, it really does take a village to raise children, especially girls. There will be times, especially as a preteen/teenager, when Zoey discounts your wisdom and love because you are her mama and you have to say that. When her village echos that same love and wisdom, she will be better able to hold on to the truth rather than believe the lies. I know my most important duties as Taelyn's Auntie Roxi is to continually show her unconditional love and to support her mama.

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