I remember apporaching the doors, looking down the aisle at the man who would become my husband and suddenly realizing that not only was I marrying who he was today, but I would be married to whoever he became for the rest of our lives. It was a profound thought that was suddenly surprising. I hadn’t thought of that before. I couldn’t know what he would become. But that was the commitment I was making. It seemed so huge at that moment and I had a fear start to creep into my being.
But then I looked again at that man and remembered that I trusted him. And I looked again at my father standing there by me, oblivious to what I was thinking. I was reminded that he raised his little girl into the young lady standing there anxiously with her arm in his, and he trusted her. That was the first time in my life that I realized what it was like to truly commit to someone for life, for all the right reasons. It was one of those life changing moments.
Seven years later on New Year’s Day we learned that my belly and our family would be growing. There was a little life in there and even though we didn’t know anything other than it was in there, we loved that little life and we knew that no matter what that little life became, we were committed to loving that little life. The little life’s daddy joked that it had to be a boy because he didn’t know what to do with girls. Coming from families heavy on the boys, it was a legitimate statement.
Being the one carrying the baby I wondered lots of things as I rubbed my growing tummy. I now knew what it was like to be pregnant, but I still had no idea what the rest of motherhood held. The best I could get out of people was a look that I didn’t understand. I felt like I should understand it, but I didn’t. Was I missing something?
Soon I began to feel that I would be pregnant forever. That this baby would never come. That I would never understand that look women were giving me when they learned it was our first. That I just might hold this baby in my tummy forever.
Even though I had never been in labor before, I knew what it was when it started. It was getting stronger and changing and moving along. There was an end in sight. I was in the moment, feeling everything and doing what I thought needed to be done to bring this little person into the world the way I wanted to.
And then, there she was. Beautiful, healthy, perfect. They put her on my chest and she picked up her pretty little head and looked at me. At that moment I knew that I could love this little person forever. I could love whatever she was and whatever she became. And I looked at her daddy and knew that he knew exactly what to do with little girls. And I remember saying after twelve hours of labor, “I could do that again.”
Now, two more babies later, I know what that look is. Motherhood isn’t something that can be explained to someone who has not experienced it. Motherhood isn’t something that is easily defined. You hear all sorts of things, that your body will never be the same, that you will never be the same, that your life will never be the same. But that does not even begin to capture what you will experience.
My journey to becoming a mother involved an awakening. Something inside me awakened and I knew that if I chose to trust it, it would change who I was.
And it did.
It changed how I think. It changed what I do and where I want to go and who I want to be with. It changed my priorities and desires. Now, it doesn’t matter that my body will never be the same. It doesn’t matter that I will never be the same, or that my life will never be the same.
I know because I’ve experienced it. I know what that look means now. I’ve given that look. I know because now I can’t imagine life without these three little people. I know because I realized that my life before I had children was so one dimensional. So uneventful. So empty.
I know that I’m doing what I was meant for. I am loving who my children are. I am loving who they are becoming. And I am loving who they will be. And I will do that until I can’t do it anymore.
This is who I am. It’s what I’ve become. It’s what I will be always. I trust it and it fills me up.
After four kids, ten moves and nearly two decades, we are still blissfully in love (most of the time) and I found myself back in the state I was born and raised in. It has definitely been a journey. In fact, on our 18th anniversary we pulled the last of our stuff up over the pass and into Montana, leaving our surprise love, Idaho, behind. But Montana is a great place. The last best place according to some. And we fully intend to explore as much of it as we can! Join us on our continued adventure through life, love and other stuff that comes with it.