Austin has entered that stage where he clings to me if anyone else tries to take him from my arms. He cries out worriedly when I put him down -except for when he’s anxiously squirming to be free of my grasp (which is 85% of the time). He crawls over to and climbs up my legs, and he gives me hugs and kisses. He’s my baby, and I’m his mom.
I’m a mom. Whoa.
How did this happen to me?
No, smarty pants, I’m not asking how that happened to me, thank you very much. What I want to know is, how did another title, or role, get added to my “life resume”? I don’t remember updating my qualifications, and definitely not my experience. Why would anyone think me ready and worthy to hold this position?
Knowing that how I act and what I say- to him and with others- will be the things that stick with and shape my son, is humbling. It will force me to constantly examine myself and be prepared to see my reflection in him. What a weighty responsibility. It’s frightening, really; and it’s something that’s extremely important for me to realize and remember. I know I will slip up and show some ugly traits. But, I am going to walk forward with confidence and do the absolute best that I can. And when I regret my actions, I pray that I will let go of my pride, and humble myself before my child to tell him that I can be wrong. Lessons can be learned in many ways, and I think humility before a child is a lesson in itself. I am confident I can do this mother-thing. And here’s why.
I learned from the best.
My mother is not perfect. I don’t think it’s possible for anyone to give their best unfailingly. But she always tries to do her best- more than her best, and I’ve seen that my whole life.
She is not perfect, and I know I don’t have to be either. Aside from the fact that she produced awesome offspring (in my humble opinion!) – wait….. That’s proof that she’s the best, right?
My mom has shown me what women are capable of. She continues to amaze me as she overcomes hurdles in her career, encourages and supports her children as they grow, respects her husband, and improves her health. She gives of her time and money, and shows me how a generous spirit can be freeing and inviting. And watching her be a grandmother to my baby shows me that she is capable of loving even more than I knew. She amazes me, and I am lucky to have her. If anyone thinks that my heart resembles hers at all, I would feel like I’m doing alright, and that she’s done well. After all, the proof is in the pudding. or something like that. (what does that even mean?)
I am not alone.
I am so thankful to have a helpful, supportive husband who is also a loving dad. I want my son to love his father, and I want him to see me love him rightly, too. Chris will show our son many things, whether he is aware of them all or not. I breathe easy knowing that Chris always tries to love me correctly, and that the way he cares for me and others is something Austin will grow up watching.
Chris is always wanting to learn new things, and is quick to flip the coin and teach. Always wanting to grow and improve, he doesn’t keep any of that knowledge to himself, and I know he’s excited about all the things he can teach our boy. I truly hope that Austin nurtures his already inquisitive spirit, and has the same love of learning as his dad. I hope, in turn, that he will share what he learns with others. I pray we can encourage him to open his mind, ask questions (although I’m sure they’ll be tireless!), and have dialogue with others so that he will think outside of the box, figure things out, challenge societal norms, and just enjoy using the amazing mind he has been given. I know I can count on Chris to give him the occasional nudge toward all those things.
Austin is lucky to have wonderful men around him. My dad and my brother will also encourage Austin to dig deeper and think critically, and I am so grateful for that. Then they’ll go out and shoot hoops or play golf. Both Chrises, my hubby and my brother, will show Austin that it’s good to have fun and be silly. He’ll learn one liners from old movies, and be able to quote Star Wars and Harry Potter just like the rest of us. Austin will learn the value of hard work and will love sunshine and a good joke.
Austin is also blessed to have lots of history from both sides of his family. I am thankful that we have all the additional love, help, and support from Chris’ parents, sister, and extended family, as well as my far away family. They will give advice and strengthen our family with every encouraging note, sent card, and concerned phone call.
I have been blessed with good people to call my friends. I know that we have the support of so many people, many who have promised to help raise our son and hold us accountable for our actions. Many of these folks are people from our church community, and I am happy to know that as Austin grows, he will have these positive influences and Christ-minded people in his life.
I do (a little) research, listen to (some) advice, and trust my instinct.
I’m sure that when I’ve had my second kid, and more, that I’ll still need advice. I’m so grateful to have lots of moms (and other “experts” in a variety of subjects) in my life and at my fingertips. I can reach out with a question on Facebook, and know I’ll get a variety of answers. I can troll the mommy boards on different sites, and talk to my pediatrician, too. I know nothing will ever stop the worrying or concern that comes with becoming a parent, but it’s nice to know I have other people I can talk to about things, who will identify with me and tell me I’m not crazy (in most cases). I’m lucky to have experienced people in my life that I can trust.
Speaking of trust….
I trust in the Lord. When I think of how much love I have for my little boy, sometimes it hurts. And I know that God loves him even more than I do. That’s unfathomable to me. But, it’s not just that He loves Austin that gives me some peace, it’s that I know He has a plan for him. For us. And I don’t need to know all of the details of that plan. My God is great, and doesn’t make everything known to me. And I’m ok with that. No matter how qualified I may feel, if God saw me fit to till the role of raising his precious gem, who am I to question that? I will do my best to raise him well, and in a way that is pleasing to his creator.