I stood in line at Target behind a woman who bought half the store. Seriously, no idea how she fit it all in her cart. I glanced at her Louis Vuitton bag and Lulu Lemon wind breaker and cute braided hair and wondered where her kids were. If she had any.
Mine were at home with their Dad. I asked for an hour (turned into an hour and half, oh well) to scan the Christmas clearance at one of my favorite stores and perhaps look at a few other things too. I was alone, shopping. It was good.
But then I got sandwiched between “bought-half-the-store girl” and a family of four in this line so long I contemplated buying a coffee beverage out of the little fridge in the check out just to keep myself awake while I waited. And after I reconsidered I glanced two lines over to a couple so young, so happy, so vibrant.
She rubbed her ample belly with one hand as he smiled down at her from over her shoulder. The look on his face said it all. So proud, full of love. I smiled openly at the sight of them. I did not see any other children trailing behind them and so from their outward happiness and parental glow, I said to myself, “Must be their first.” And then I took myself back. Back to those days of pregnancy with my first.
I stood there recalling the anticipation and the reading of the books and articles and the advice given freely from others. I remembered how amazing it was to feel those first kicks, as I laid in our queen-sized sleigh bed reading something related to babies, and calling Tim from the second story of our town home to come up and rub my belly so he could feel them too. I thought back to all my wondering of what he or she would look like and how the birth would go and what I would feel for my newborn upon meeting them.
I thought about my cravings of marinara sauce and chocolate chip cookies (that has not changed) and the offhand comment from a stranger in the mall once when I told her that I was not finding out the baby’s gender before birth. She said something to the effect of “That’s crazy, who doesn’t find out these days”. And I simply said, “Me.”
I remembered as far back as the pregnancy test I took, waiting the allotted time for the pink lines to show up and then showing it to Tim and saying “Oh My God” over and over again in disbelief that I really was carrying a child inside.
It was a truly amazing time, to be pregnant with my first baby. There is nothing else like it because it is one of those things in life that you can do only ONCE and you just cannot truly know about until you experience it yourself. So much unknown. So much to take in in such a short time, really. So much to feel and hear and contemplate.
The last memory I had before I was taken out of my trance by the sound of “Ma’am?” was of me sitting in the rocking chair, fully pregnant, ready for baby to come. I sat there looking at all the things we had prepared for his or her arrival. Clothing and toys and a crib and blankets. I looked down at my big, round belly while in the quiet, thinking of how much my life and our life as a family was about to change. I thought of how much I was going to miss the baby’s movements and the fact that I was able to eat as many chocolate chip cookies as I wanted while pregnant. But I also wondered if I was really ready – truly ready to become a mother and be responsible for another human being’s welfare.
I decided I was. After all, there was no turning back now. I was ready to become a Mom.
Of course little did I know that the books and articles and advice were not enough to know how challenging and crazy motherhood could be, on top of the joys and laughs. The “oh my God, what I have done” feelings were there at first and really, no one talked too much about those back then. I had no idea there would be two more babies some day who would make life even more full in so many ways. I hoped but was not sure.
I wanted to run over to that couple and tell them. Tell them to make sure not to miss things, to love their baby no matter what arose, to make sure to breathe and follow their instincts. To be thankful even when it feels like they are not. I wanted to say that even on days that are so, SO hard, you will get through it all and in the end there will always be Love.
But in that moment it was my turn to purchase my inexpensive wrapping paper (and a slew of other things I maybe did not need) and I had waited this long to buy them.
So I refrained from accosting them and returned home to my husband and my own “babies”, after a needed break and much reflection.
And I watched the end of “Turbo” while sitting next to the man I love and stroking the beautiful blond hair of the little girl in my lap.
There I realized. They WILL know. They will know soon.
And even in the midst of days when they might wonder what they’ve done they will still be oh so thankful for the blessing of the child in their life.
This is just part of the story of my journey as a mother. Do YOU have a story to tell relating to motherhood? If so (and you live in the Southeast Texas or South Louisiana area), please send it to us for the Listen to Your Mother show – submissions are open for the show I am co-producing with my fellow mother and good friend, Jennifer. We want to hear YOUR words too!