The Roller Coaster of Motherhood
Not that it would have made a difference, but I wish when I was contemplating having children that someone would have told me that having a children is a never-ending roller coaster ride of emotions and worry. I was most likely told this, but being a hard headed, Italian/Irish, know everything kind of person, I didn't listen. To my defense, the warnings given were always followed with, "but you will love it!" And of course, I do!
When I was pregnant, a friend of ours said to me, "Be ready to never have loved anyone or anything like you will love that baby when he is born; not your husband, parents, anyone."At that point in my life, I could not imagine anyone ever topping the love I felt for my husband. That all changed. When my first son was born, I could not remember ever being happier then when I was holding him, sleeping, in my arms. The love for my husband was and is as strong as it ever was, but snuggling my child, was a different feeling of love beyond compare.
With that love came worry. I would wake up numerous times in the night to check if he was breathing and to be sure that he was still there. I would constantly be on the look out for warning signs of various illnesses and the multitude of childhood diseases. I worried if I was spending enough time with him, spending too much time with him, talking, reading, and playing with him enough, letting him learn to play on his own. As discussions began about having another child, I worried if I had the capacity to love and care for another child the same way I love and cared for the one in my arms. Turns out, I did. I loved and worried about my second boy just as much as I did the first.
The years of my boys growing up came with many challenges, temper tantrums, accidents, and traumas. It was filled with aggravation, a loss of personal identity and freedom, and lots of arguing. However, it was filled with more love than one could possibly handle, more pride than one should ever feel, and more laughs and joy than I could possibly imagine. This is the roller coaster that I am sure I was warned of but flat out ignored.
What I was not warned of is what I am now experiencing; the letting go. Not the letting go of allowing them to ride a bike to a friends house or go to the mall on their own, but the letting go that allows them to become the adults they are meant to be. It is the time when I have to step back and hope that I have instilled the values, character, and intelligence to be a productive citizen and, more importantly, a kind human being. It is the time when I look back on that roller coaster and wish I could go back and do it all again, because I don't remember the fear and anxiety of the climbs, I only remember the amazing view from the top and the crazy, fun ride down.
I don't ever remember anyone telling me about this part of being a parent, not that it would have made any difference. I would not have changed a thing; except maybe worry less and play more. But, I guess that is what people meant when they said "Enjoy them while they are young because it goes by so fast." I have been saying the same thing to my sister when her three-year-old twins are driving her crazy. Maybe I should be telling her that soon enough, she will be letting go too. Not that it will make a difference, but at least she will be told.
Photo Credit: britishchris.