Sunday, May 11, 2008

Happy Mother's Day

Happy Mother's Day to all the mommies out there.  I was just thinking today of the day I became a mother.

It was December 15, 2003.  What would eventually be a very joyous day, I spent the morning and most of the afternoon wanting to throw my obstetrician off of a roof.  Then I got the epidural, and I spent the following several hours wanting to kiss my anesthesiologist.  Dane Christopher came into the world in a very cold operating room after being ripped from my abdomen via c-section.  His reluctance to swim toward the light that day should have given me an insight into what the next several years would be like.

You hear about what that moment is like.  That moment when your whole life changes in a second and you become a parent and you get it.  You understand the love your own parents have for you and you fall in love with the naked, screaming child that your body will never fully recuperate from carrying for 9 months.  At least mine won't.

But nothing you hear about actually prepares you for that moment.  Because up until that moment, everyone else in your life has had to earn you love and affection.  Your parents provide you food and shelter, so you love them as a child.  When you are an adult, you love them because of the people they have revealed themselves to be.  Your brother and sister share your life with you for many years under the same roof so you are forced to love them, whether you want to or not.  Then you all grow up and realize that you love them anyway.  Your friends have to jump through all kinds of hoops to earn your love.  And the man you eventually marry will only earn your love after several years of dating and bathtubs full of flowers.

But this.  This child has consumed you with the first breath they take.  It's frighteningly vulnerable how quickly and easily you love this child.  To know that God has given this child to you in an instant to raise, and you can lose that child just as quickly.  It's terrifying to know that God has granted you the privilege of raising an entire person from scratch, and that at any moment a tragedy could end it.  And that even though you are the Mommy, and you would move mountains for this child, only God can truly keep him safe.  And that's so scary, because even if you trusted God completely before this baby was born, now you have to trust Him even more than you ever have before.  With something you love more than you have ever loved anything before.  How people have babies and not believe in God is beyond my understanding.

The day I married Brandon was one of the happiest days of my life.  But that day in December when I became a mother changed who I was as a person more than any singular event has thus far.

Motherhood was not something that came naturally for me.  As much as I loved Dane from that first breath he took, I was horrified during those first few days and weeks to learn that I did not love being his mother.  Between the raging hormones, sleep deprivation, and the general sense of "I am not running this show anymore", it was an ugly couple of weeks.  I very much missed being Brandon and Mandy.  I missed being able to watch TV when I wanted instead of feeling like I had to sleep now, otherwise I may not sleep at all until tomorrow.  I missed being able to go see a movie, or go out to eat without having to pack a suitcase of bottles, diapers, burp cloths, clothes, and the gigantic baby carrier.  I wanted to go the mall, dadgumit!  I missed my selfishness.  I missed being carefree and not having the responsibility of an entire person's livelihood.  I did not feel qualified for this.  I was a good nurse.  I had even figured out the wife thing.  I wasn't crazy about being given a huge job that was so easy to screw up, as parenthood was.   I did not like being a mommy.  But I loved my baby Dane more than life itself.

After a couple of weeks, the hormones settled down.  Life as I knew it was forever changed, and I adjusted accordingly.  Brandon and I became one of those boring "baby couples" who talked continuously about the adorable things the baby did that day.  Like chewing on his fist.  Fascinating stuff.  And we found that we would rather stay home and watch Dane try to roll over than see the newest movie that just came out.  

Fortunately, Dane was a ridiculously easy and happy baby, and he didn't seem to notice that his mother was an emotional wreck who cried more than he did in the beginning.  But I can't imagine life without my Dane and Aidan, and at times I look back and think of our "pre-child life" as boring and empty.  I can't imagine not having my two little Ninja Turtles, or not having Hot Brandon to raise them with. 

Then I think of vacations I want to take, and want to cry because the days of the Brandon and Mandy Vacations are quickly coming to an end, and I think I will never go on that Alaskan Cruise.

Here are the latest in the series of $513 crafts that the boys have made at their school this year:
Here is the t-shirt Dane made me.  I know it looks like disembodied-head Dane with a couple of hand prints, but look again.  It is an angel.  
Happy Mother's Day!  Enjoy the day with your own disembodied-head angels!


Adrienne said...

PLEASE tell me you wore the shirt Dane made you to church today!?!

Happy Mothers' Day, Mandy! Love you! :o)

Brandy said...

I could not have put motherhood any better. You are so good with words and it is absolutely amazing how much you can love them.

Mandy said...

Yes, I did wear it to church. With a denim jacket over it. In the van on the way to church, Dane says, "Mom, are you cold? You need to take your jacket off at church so everyone can see the shirt I made."

Dang that kid is smart...