Yesterday my baby girl turned 2. I love watching my kids grow up. I did allow myself a moment yesterday to grieve the loss of her baby phase but I really strive to focus on the moments right now instead of missing the past. I have a friend with two boys - one just graduated from college and got married and the other is headed off to college. She has the best attitude towards her kids growing up - she enjoys them right where they are and finds joy in each phase! And she managed that through their teen years! I want to grow up with my kids that way.
I always get a kick out of asking my kids for our "adult" names. Last night, I was trying to see if Allyn would say that my name is "Kirstin." Riley knows our names so he was telling Allyn that Mommy is "Kirstin." Allyn turned to me and said "NO!" I asked, "I'm not Kirstin?" and she responded, "No! You are MOMMY!"
But she is right in so many ways. When you become a mother, everything changes. It changes in the moment you see the little lines on that pee-stick-thing, the moment you hear a heartbeat, and the moment they really let you walk out the door of the hospital to take the baby home all by yourself (as if you have any clue what you're doing!). And when you are adopting, that changing process is only slightly different. You become a mom the moment you decide "we are going to adopt." And life changes. It changes when you send that last package off at Fed Ex, when you get the official approval from your adoption agency, and when you get the coveted email with the subject "WAITLIST." It will change for me again when we pass court, and when we finally bring that baby home. The milestones look different but the emotions are the same.
Being a mom is as much a part of who I am as my eye color. I hear about women who fear the loss of "themselves" in becoming a mom. But I am much more "myself" as a mother than I was before. Yes, I come last in a way that wasn't true before, but people who put others before them lead much greater lives than those who put themselves first. And I learned a lot about that watching mothers and grandmothers in Swaziland.
I've never been much of a clothes-buyer but even I noticed that my wardrobe wasn't being updated as often once we had kids. In Swaziland, I saw a completely different version of this. We brought blankets & jackets with us out to the community one day. The kids lined up outside the tent of the church & we brought them in in small groups to find them a jacket that fit and a blanket. The women (mostly grandmothers since the middle-generation has mostly died of HIV/AIDS related illness) all stood outside the tent and kept the kids organized. Once all the children had had their turn, the women came in (we had some adult clothing with us) and finally had a chance to sort through what was left to see if there was anything for them. Many ignored the adult clothes completely and chose to look through what was left of the kids' clothes to see if there was anything else for their children. These women are Mommies.
Hi, my name is Mommy. That name carries unbelievable responsibility and sacrifice but it brings with it a joy that I've found nowhere else. It's the best label I've ever been given. And I'm so excited that one day I'll have three small ones who call me that (more if I can get Rob to agree to my "secret" plan to do a domestic adoption one day... but that's another story!)