Thursday, February 23, 2012

Lessons learned from motherhood

Before I became a mom, I was pretty clear on what all I would do as a mom and how my children would be. There was little or no doubt that my children would never dress like that, wear makeup like that, act like that, like Disney princesses, be traumatized by the introduction and then dispel the hopes of Santa, or the Easter bunny, or the tooth fairy, and I would never drive a mini van! There was no way! Having children would not change who I was.

I bet there are so  many people who laugh on a regular basis at how terribly wrong I was.

My niece, who is pregnant, with her first child, makes similar statements.

I tried to explain that I had thought the same thing but that everything, EVERYTHING, changes after you add children to the mix.

When you have a child, you WANT the mini van, not for you, but for them, the children. They don't drive it, or course, but they want and NEED the space, the convenience, to be able to open the door for them, remotely, then for them to have plenty of room for all their paraphernalia, makes the mini van just one of the many things you find you want.

She didn't believe me. She wanted to know why you would do those things even when you don't want to and that's when it dawned on me, you do it because you want your children to be happy. That's it. Nothing more, nothing less. You truly want them to be happy. You are willing to do whatever is necessary to make that child happy.

So if it appears that the Disney princesses make them happy, you are all for Disney princesses.

And of course, Santa becomes a fixture, along with the tooth fairy, and the Easter bunny. You try to temper it with reality, but soon you are up all night wrapping every present, in hopes that at least one will be the perfect gift! That your child will be happy.

Now don't get me wrong, it is not about possessions. In fact that is probably the last thing you end up doing to try to promote happiness for your child. You encourage them in all endeavors, all outfits, all experiments with all styles, all music, art, school work, you name it, you are there to tell them how much you love them and how proud you are of them.

And of course, because you love them so much, you soon learn you have to tell them no also. Yes, you want them to be happy, but your job as the parent is sometimes to be the one person who tells them no and you have to make them understand that it is not out of meanness, it is done out of love, and because you do want them to be happy.

It does get complicated when your child comes with a past, when you adopt a child whose earliest experiences you could not control, and there was no one there for whom their happiness was the most important part of their life. And when they struggle with the demons that plague them from their earliest days, you feel completely lost, and all you want is to help them find a way through the darkness and hope they can find happiness again.

So you focus on what you can do, you pray, and you are so very glad that God felt you deserved this special child, and you take their happiness very seriously, and you hope that others, who have room in their hearts, will also consider adopting an older child, who are missing out on their happiness being important to someone, and then receive the blessings you have from becoming a mom, just not necessarily the one you thought you would.

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