When I was younger, I always imagined changing the world somehow. I wanted to make people feel okay and smile, I wanted to be a comedian. I wanted to save lives, I wanted to be a doctor or nurse. I wanted to make people safer at night, I wanted to be a cop, firefighter, or Marine. I wanted to help people learn about the world, I wanted to be a teacher or scientist. I wanted to take people somewhere else in their mind, I wanted to be a writer, artist, or musician.
But then, I grew up. I got married. I became a mother. And I began seeing everything I ever wanted to do, fade away. I always wanted to be a mother, but I wanted to be more than a mother. I still wanted to change the world, but doing it all was so hard, I didn’t know if I ever could. I was just me.
It’s a hard thing to realize that everything you wanted to be as a child will never happen. To begin to lose your identity of who you once were in a blaze of being called “so-and-so’s wife” and knowing as time goes, you’ll only be the wife or the mother of someone. You are no longer you. And I’m sure that’s where a lot of PPD comes from, realizing that your dreams of who you will be will no longer come true, because you are no longer who you once were anymore.
But it doesn’t take long usually until you start to become everything you ever wanted to be and then some when you become a mother. You want to hear your baby laugh and see her smile, you become a comedian. You want him to feel safe knowing you are around, you become his personal cop, firefighter, and Marine. You want her to feel better when she is sick, you become a nurse and a doctor. You want to answer his questions and teach him about the world, you become a teacher and a scientist. You want to take her away in her imagination, you become a storyteller and a singer. But become so much more than you ever thought you could ever be. You become a playmate, a taxi driver, an interpreter, a builder of toys and a finder of missing cups and bottles. You’re a maid and a safety blanket, you’re everything they need.
Being a great mom isn’t about being a perfect mom. It’s about being a mom. Being there when a hand needs holding, or a shoulder needs to be cried on, or even a shower needs to be taken. It’s about making mistakes and learning from them. It’s about learning early on that your child will rip your heart out, and not stopping them, but even sometimes allowing them to do it, just so they can grow themselves. It’s about sitting by the phone some times, waiting, or having to change your plans at the last minute so you can be there. It’s about giving up something for yourself so you can give to them. It didn’t take me long at all to realize that I may not be doing any of things I envisioned myself doing as a child, but I am changing the world. I am a mother, and I change the world everyday. A mother changes the world by giving her child a good home to live in, and a good place to learn. She changes the world by nurturing her child’s independence and thirst for knowledge. By raising a good citizen and a good person, a mother changes the world.
So here’s to all the mothers who are doing it alone, and those who aren’t. The moms who are moms even tho they don’t have to be. The ones who would give up everything for their babies and do. And especially my mom who always put us first, and always was and always is there for us, no matter what we may need.
Happy Mother’s Day.