Mother’s Day Musings

There’s lots of trite ways to start a blog post about Mother’s Day, and I tried a number of them before starting fresh.

So, from the heart, here’s what I’ve got:

I always wanted to be a mom. Some girls just know.

So, after a unique journey, when my first munchkin showed up, one of the deepest wishes of my heart was fulfilled. A couple years later, another one entered my life a little more dramatically and promptly wrapped me around a very dear little finger.

Mother's Day Musings

And I know that I’m blessed. Some mothers don’t have the experience that I do. Some don’t look at Mother’s Day as a day to celebrate. My heart goes out to you as you’re inundated with pictures of smiling families at brunch with flowers.

While I’m still in the throes of tantrums, diapers, and sleeplessness, I parent but haven’t faced any of the big challenges of older children.

My older one has developed empathy, making her a lot more fun to be around, and wants to do stuff that I want to do, like bake stuff and draw pictures. The little one also likes to do one of my favorite things. Hint: it rhymes with “Need Hooks.” He’ll raid the shelves for several volumes that he’ll bring to me in the kitchen or whatever other place is wet or sticky and insist I drop what I’m doing and answer this human need to hear a story.

How has being a mother changed me? Well, there are some obvious things, like jiggly bits, including the bags under my eyes, but there are other, deeper changes too. And I’m not talking about the fundamental altering of my DNA (it’s a thing!) that now includes some of my children’s DNA mixed with mine.

You may have heard your parents say “you’ll understand when you’re a parent.” And I didn’t discount those words. But their reality is much greater.

I truly believe that the depth of emotion I experienced—and hopefully expressed—writing “Redeeming the Demon’s Daughter” (without spoilers I refer to the opening scene of Suvi with her son) would have been impossible for me prior to becoming a mother.

I have a vivid imagination, but, like any writer, I still have to draw from my experience and emotion to write a believable character. The love a parent has for a child is different than any other kind of love. It’s not the same love you have for a spouse or a parent. And I had to experience that love to be able to write about it.

So even though Suvi and I could scarcely be more different and she made choices and sacrifices I can’t even begin to imagine, her story called to me from the beginning because of our shared experience as mothers.

And so to all the mothers out there—past, present, and future—we share a bond that I acknowledge this Mother’s Day.

Previous Posts:

A Little Honesty for Mother’s Day

First Mother’s Day

A Little Honesty for Mother’s Day

As I’ve said before, having the opportunity to be a mother is the greatest of gifts. My two wonderful munchkins bring me great joy and laughter. Even though they test my patience and steal my sleep, they offer kisses and cuddles and constantly amaze me with the ways they interact with the world. T says the most insightful and creative things, explores the world and reveals her findings so honestly, and D is fascinated by everything and reminds me how fleeting the baby time is. I soak up the joy of this time as best I can.

But I have a confession, and it’s a very shallow one. I was changing into my pajamas one night and finally admitted aloud the truth of my feelings toward my post-baby belly. It doesn’t make me happy.

I know that this body of mine is strong and beautiful. It has served me well so far—through dance classes and martial arts, through writing and learning and worldwide travels—and through two healthy pregnancies that have gifted me two children I would not trade for anything, least of all my vanity.

But I look in the mirror and see a belly that is flabby and wrinkly, and, in the right (wrong) clothes, I look several months pregnant. I’ve learned to dress to hide my insecurities about my belly, and I’ve been taking steps to eat better and work out more, but I know the illusion for what it is.

The workout regimen will improve my fitness and silhouette if I can just stick to it. As we all know, life gets in the way. I’ve started the program for the third time. It’s discouraging to see that in print. Three times, without reaching the end. The first time I realized I got on the wrong schedule after a couple weeks, when the regimen became too difficult too quickly. The second time was interrupted by a family emergency for which I dropped EVERYTHING. I have no regrets about doing so, and I would drop everything once again if I had a do-over.

But once things settled down I climbed back on the wagon to try again. I’m trying the even easier schedule this time, so that I have an extra opportunity to stay on track. I don’t know if the plan will be interrupted again, and, if it is, I’ll start again and keep moving forward.

One of the black belts I’ve earned has a saying in Korean that roughly translates to “I will fall a thousand times and get up a thousand times.” That indomitable spirit, that perseverance to keep going in spite of setbacks, will see me through.

I do not give upIt permeates my very being. I do not give up. I may have to work harder, and things may not work out as planned. Plans and priorities change, but some things remain constant. And giving up is not an option. So I look in the mirror and accept that the droopy tummy is temporary, that this fleeting stage of motherhood to small children will pass all too soon, and that I’m doing the right things to change both my body and my perspective, and I recognize that we sacrifice certain things to get worthwhile outcomes.

Is a flabby belly and long road of exercise to recover my fitness worth the experience of raising T and D? You bet it is.

Happy Mother’s Day to my sisters in motherhood. May you be blessed with your children’s love and laughter, and may you be blessed to love yourself as you are now.

roses

Here’s a sample from my drawing exercises, per my resolutions.

Previous Mother’s Day posts: First Mother’s Day