It is hard for me to remember a time in my life before I knew I wanted to be a mommy. Your auntie and I played dolls long past the time one of us was too old for that. I had a notebook wherein I scribbled the names of my imaginary children. Elizabeth was on there for a long time. Jo (after too many readings of Little Women). Joshua and Caleb, my Biblical heroes. When I was old enough, I looked after the tinies at our church nursery. I gave up a kind of amazing opportunity to go to school in New York because I knew I wanted mommyhood to be my life's central focus.
Although I've had other dreams - the teaching one chief among them - I used to spend hours daydreaming about what life would be like as a wife and mother.
Now that I'm here - on the other side of that dream - with two beautiful, blossoming, wonderful and creative little lives, there is something I want you to know:
My darling children, you have made my dream come true.
In my young mind, motherhood was all about snuggling and kissing and dressing up those tiny humans.
And, while that is certainly part of our world, it turns out that that isn't my favorite part of motherhood.
From the moment I knew you were going to be part of our family, you each captured my heart. The process of carrying you in my tummy, feeling the outlines of your sweet little bodies, the miraculous, breath-taking view of your faces for the first time. Admiring and anticipating which of you would have my eyes, which your daddy's. As you grow, I get a front row seat as your personalities emerge and are shaped. The stubbornness. The tenacity. The desire to do right. The amazing coming together of a life built partly of me, partly of the man I love, and partly out of someone all their own unique self. I am priviledged to get to find ways to encourage you, to guide you, to understand you, to love you. Those are the best parts of being a mommy.
You are mine. We are forever connected, and I love you so much more deeply than I could have ever imagined possible.
But you are also your own. Right from day one. You each have your own heart, your own needs, your own wants. As your momma, I strive (and struggle) to figure out how to nurture that heart. To help you become the most amazing version of yourself.
Sometimes I am so good at it. Sometimes, you bring me to tears with pride. Look what I've done! I say. Look at these amazing children who call me mom!
What I have learned over my short years of motherhood is that, as hard as I try, I will also let you down. I will fall short. I will momentarily forget, in the heat of stress and frustration, what little miracles you are.
So, my babies, here is what I say to you today:
Thank you for making me a mommy. For being my dream come true. For teaching me about selflessness and forgiveness and perseverence, and my need for unending grace. For melting my heart and loving me when I am unlovable. For making me laugh and sharing my days. For having my eyes. For learning. For living.
I love you, my darlings. Oh how I love you.