I would give anything to ask my mom what she was thinking in this picture...holding me...a little over 40 years ago. Wondering what my life would be like...what I'd become...who I'd marry...what her grandchildren would be like? I was her first child, born 40 years ago today, and she went through an awful lot of opposition to have me. I'm pretty sure that if I could ask her, she'd tell me I was worth it. In so many ways, I am my mother's child. One of the big ones—the fierceness with which we love our children.
I'd love to know what my Grandma was thinking as she looked at me in this picture...I'm pretty new here, not sure but barely a few weeks. She loved me, and I loved her. I was her baby's baby, and I grew up pretty much knowing I was the apple of her eye. I think in this picture, she was telling me the world was going have great things for me.
And it has. I know a lot of people consider 40 a big milestone in life...and I guess, sort of, so do I. Not sure why—I don't feel much older than I did in my early 30s (but OH BOY very different than in my 20s, haha!) and I look in the mirror sometimes and see a girl still. An insecure, bookworm who wished she was as smart as Kate C. always acted like she was or as popular as Cindy F. so that boy I liked from 3rd grade to high school would like me back. (For the record, made out soooooooooooooo much better with the boy I married than that boy!)
Funny. Note how I say how Kate C. always acted like she was? Honestly, I think I was smarter. I just didn't have the courage to show it.
I wonder when I got so bold? I'm pretty bold. It's not my comfort zone, but it comes out of me without me even recognizing from where it came! I can be pretty feisty, too. I realize some of that is innately inherited and I am really glad those are traits of mine too. Fighting for what is right is just ingrained in every fiber of my DNA, and to do so, one often needs to be feisty.
I wasn't really bold in high school. I really think I am one of those people who bloomed a little bit later, and college was where there were lots of fish in a very big pool...all making their way. I grew more into myself in college, but really think that a lot of who I am came from my early days in teaching. Those were days I learned how valuable just a few perfectly chosen words can be to little ears...or to the parents of little ears. I learned that the system that works for children rarely works the way it should for children, and I decided that at the end of each day, I wanted to be sure that the impact on each child mattered. I had to be bold and courageous if I was going to make a difference.
Because really...my mother told me I was put on this earth to make a difference.
She had lots of big dreams for me, and she never really loved the public school system. In fact, that's being kind. I think I somewhat disappointed her and thrilled her at the same time when I told her I was going to go into teaching instead of the other things in which I'd majored. She loved hearing stories about my kids, and she loved writing about her daughter the teacher, 'doing' school the way it 'should' be done.
It's amazing how perspective can change when one realizes that she may be the only person on the planet fighting for what's best for a child.
So it of course stood to reason that children of my own had to be in my future. I learned a lot about my mom during our early infertility procedures. She was as pro-life as they come. (Which is a good thing, or else I'd not be here.) She surprised me, though, when I told her the details of one of our IUIs. My doctor had told me he'd like to see a singleton pregnancy, could deal with a twin pregnancy and that we'd have to 'discuss options' with a triplet pregnancy. Oh, how I laugh at our optimism in those days....but I digress. I told my mother that I'd told my doctor there would never be any discussion and she said, "Well, of course there would be. You can't die."
My mother had already lost one child in her life. She sure as heck was not in the market for losing another, and even hypothetically, above all costs, she'd protect me. Even if it meant going against everything she'd ever believed in or taught me to believe.
That's when I realized there just is no understanding the depth of a mother's love. It is just.that.encompassing.
The only thing I really regret about turning 40 is that it took us so long to finally be able to become pregnant and have children...and now, I'm out of time. Luke and I are celebrating with dear friends for the week at Myrtle Beach and he is having a blast with the other boys. They are 3.5 and 1.5 and my heart smiles and cries watching him interact with them. He should have that every day.
Every day. He was robbed. I was robbed. We were robbed. And 40 pretty much puts the nails in the coffin.
I try not to dwell. It doesn't serve me well. And though John is gone, and I wish he was here with us to celebrate, this is a pretty great way to spend a birthday! I was pregnant with Matthew for my 36th, but didn't know it. We'd done the transfer the day before and I had no idea that he was nestling in. I was mourning him for my 37th and for my 38th, I celebrated with the most precious little 2 month old gift. I was pregnant with Trey last year, but also got Norovirus on my birthday, so frankly, little celebrating was done.
This year, the celebration is all in watching Luke live. I am beyond grateful that this is how I am spending my birthday...making memories and watching him revel in the fun that we are having. He is amazing. I've not planned on potty training until he was closer to 3. Would you believe that in the last two weeks, that boy has pee peed in the potty several times???? He's telling ME he needs to potty. Seriously??????????? Could he be any easier to his Mama??? He is fun and loves to swim and watch 'TB" in my bed while he is eating a snack. He giggles when I say, "Must be nice to live the life of Luke!" He immersed himself in so much sand I can't believe there was any left on the beach, and he let me go shopping this morning for 4 hours with nary a peep out of his stroller the whole morning. (iPod Touch. Best money ever spent!) Every day I am more and more in love with him and he makes every day as good as the best birthday.
I know my mom's heart would have been broken to see us suffer the losses we have suffered. I know that she would never have dreamed 40 years ago that her sweet little baby girl would be so lost sometimes and still so abundantly blessed. I know she wanted to be sure that I went to DisneyWorld (check), knew Jesus (check) and played the harp (not gonna happen!).
And I know she wanted me to know the joys of being a mother.
Forty years ago, the mother of three precious little boys was born.
Spending it with this miracle?
Best birthday ever.
(Minus the fact that John is gone. Of course that would make it even better!)