“Whatever else is unsure in this stinking dunghill of a world, a mother’s love is not.” ~James Joyce

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(Warning: this one’s all about me)  I always knew that I would be a mother. I just never had a picture of what it would look like. I had two inklings of what it would feel like: the first was through a relationship with a little girl named Bryanna who sang in the adult choir when I was in the choir at St. Alphonsus Rock Church. Bryanna was only five when she started singing with us; she was adopted. She was apparently an alto like me, although her mom was a soprano, so she sat next to me. I didn’t know her before this. Choir practice was long and about 45 minutes into it she would usually curl up next to me. She’d get a little antsy and I would tickle her back or her arm and she would instantly relax and sit very still. I was sure the love I felt for this little girl, only through sitting with her at choir practice, was as pure as a mother for her own daughter. I would think of her during the week and just miss her little being. I wanted to take her home with me and at the same time was thankful for the family she had. The feeling gave me an excitement for being a mother to a daughter some day (in looking back, now that I AM a mom, it is no wonder I loved this child – she was only 5 and sang like an angel and could sit still in an adult choir practice for an hour and half! I think I might have been tricked into having kids).

The second inkling of what being a mom would feel like was much simpler. I was meditating one day and picturing a future, peaceful and fulfilled life. Dan and I were engaged at the time. My thoughts went to me walking in a park. Then I noticed that in the picture in my mind, I could feel that there was something with me. I actually had to look closer to see what it was (I am not a meditating expert so I am not sure if I’m a total kook or not); I saw that it was a baby in a stroller. I was certain from those feelings, prayers, divine peace that I would be a mom soon and couldn’t wait for that little bundle of grace to arrive. I was never in a rush to have kids and hadn’t put a timeline to it and then it was simply time. Grace was probably born within a year of that day.

So the sum total of my “picture” of what it would be like to be a mom included an extremely calm little girl who I saw once a week and a meditation induced peaceful vision of walking a baby in the park. It is no wonder that I have been a little shocked, utterly shocked, at the reality of being a mom. Tickling someone’s arm does NOT always calm them down and we only just went for our first peaceful walk with kids this past week. When I meditate and pray now, I feel like I have octopus arms trying to keep up with everything.

One of the joys for me in being a mom is creating our life as I now picture it being best for us. I hope to create a peaceful home where our kids feel secure. I hope our love for them is deep in the core of their souls. I hope they grow up to see me as a full person with interests and talents outside of just being their mom, although I also hope they understand that what I care most about is being their mom and that having that balance is really hard with a lot of decisions and trade-offs and that I will end up a little frumped-out and dorky and not as glamorous as my vision of myself before I imagined them.

I am just returning from a work trip and struggle to fit that into my ideal picture. In the ideal picture, I want to be there for good night books and kisses every night, although in reality, I am sometimes asleep while reading to them at night. For now, I imagine striving to be the well rounded mom with outside interests and talents is good for all of us in a way, but I am greedy and don’t like missing a single beautiful spring night at the snow cone stand when the peace in reality matches the peace in my vision of being a mom. These moments can’t be planned and are pure blessings, so I will take them when they come. The rest of the time I will try to laugh at the rest of this stinking dunghill of life.

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