I confess. I used to announce to anyone who would listen that I was not going to have children. Yep, that was me – back in my college days.
Rewind the crazy movie reel of my life back to the 70’s when I was a college co-ed. I was so full of myself. I bought into the idea that a career would fulfill all my wildest dreams. I was so very wrong.
The notions and ideas I had of life then boggle my mind now as I revisit my past. I also used to spout quite often that I was never getting married. The single career life for me, that’s what I thought. I even wrote a silly little ditty – “A housewife I could never be, for that would be the end of me!”
Of course, all of that ranting was before I met the love of my life. After three years of dating, my true love and I advanced to matrimony. First notion shot down. Oh well, I still did work on the career thing, even though I changed careers because of dissatisfaction in my first choice.
Then after almost five years of marriage, along came oldest daughter. Notion number two blown completely out of the water. Never in my wildest dreams did I expect the intensity of emotion that flooded over me when I gave birth to my first child. The powerful emotional bond and overwhelming love I felt for this tiny little human being that had just emerged from my body was something I had never experienced before. Mother lion would have described me appropriately.
I couldn’t imagine being without her or leaving her in someone else’s care to return to my career. And after her birth, I didn’t go back to my job, a decision that never disappointed me. A new career had already been forged – motherhood. Three and a half years later, middle daughter was born and my intense mother lion feelings doubled. Son arrived two years after her and now my motherhood role and passionate love for my children tripled.
Fast forward to the present. Being the mother of my three now-adult children has been the most remarkable experience of my life. For most of those years, I was a stay-at-home mom, soccer mom, whatever you want to call me, but I have never regretted one solitary moment of my time spent at home raising my children.
Today I was given a little gift, a little bit of retrospect, a glimpse backward into time to remember what it felt like to be just “mama.” Middle daughter needed a medical procedure done today, one which required her to have a driver afterward. Last night she drove up from the city and spent the night preparing for this test. The mama in me kicked in big time. I shopped for clear liquids which she could drink, fussed over her, checked on her, heated up broth to warm her, and it felt so right and so good to do so – to be a mama taking care of her child.
Early this morning while it was still dark, we headed out into the blustery, snowy weather for the hospital’s outpatient department. I didn’t sleep well, too much consternation over daughter’s test. I spent a good portion of the night and this morning praying that my little girl in that grown up woman’s body would be safe during the testing and that the results would be good news.
While we waited for her test to commence, I wanted to protect her from any harm. I wanted to take her hand in mine and tell her all would be well. But what 25-year-old woman wants to be embarrassed by her mother fawning all over her? They whisked her off and I managed to blow my beloved child a kiss and tell her I loved her.
The nurse called me back to the recovery area as they wheeled in my daughter on her gurney. She was still sedated from the anesthesia and she looked just like the little princess she used to be as she slept with her mouth slightly ajar. Her nurse asked me, “Are you with her?” I answered, “Yes, I’m her mother.” As soon as those words emerged from my mouth, my sweet one’s eyes flew open and searched the room for me.
I’m not sure I can even put into words the feeling that enveloped me as I realized my daughter heard my voice and woke to search for her mama. Joy. Elation. Heartwarming. It made me smile as I stroked her head, tucked a tendril of her hair behind her ear, and told her I was there. She smiled back at me with that groggy, silly way people who are coming out of sedation have.
Driving home, I asked if she was hungry and told her we could stop to get her something to eat, anything she wanted since she hadn’t eaten solid food for over 24 hours. Ever her mama’s daughter, she wanted donuts.
Right now, my very grown-up, responsible, independent, and self-sufficient daughter is tucked into her mommy and daddy’s bed napping nicely. Just like she did when she was a little girl. And on this day, this empty nest mama is rejoicing for the loveliest of gifts – the gift of being needed.