3 Years Ago, I Became a Better Me

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As I’ve mentioned before, motherhood has been both everything and nothing like what I thought it would be.

Three years ago, literally at the same moment the sun crested the mountains visible through our hospital room window, my daughter came into the world, healthy and pink and with the cutest little cry I’d ever heard in my life.

And while I knew that motherhood would–of necessity–change who I was before, I could have no possible way of realizing how much, or especially, how much for the better.

I’ve always been a bit of a self-absorbed person—I like seeking out my own goals and dreams, doing a lot of solitary activities, and pushing myself to meet my own ideals. Motherhood balances me out, teaching me that it’s often in the selfless acts where I lose myself completely in the pursuit of helping my daughter, that I become essentially more of who I’m meant to be.

While naturally I’ve always been a pretty patient person, motherhood has refined those areas where it WASN’T so easy to be patient before–namely, with myself, with learning new skills, and with practicing that patience even when I am being stretched to my very limits.

Before, I was often the type to hurry from place to place, to surround myself with endless to-do lists and tasks to be done, and to (unfortunately) sometimes see it as an inconvenience when someone needed my help. Becoming a mother has helped me to slow down exponentially, to savor the little golden moments that regularly crop up day to day, and to view it as a privilege to be needed and wanted by someone else all day, every day.

Motherhood has helped me to make opportunities for joy and for fun and for simply finding delight in the world on a daily basis, whereas before, I often only had those moments when they happened to come my way, or when I seized on some “special opportunity” to plan for it. Now, as I strive to help my daughter to see the wonder that’s in the world, it has re-opened my own eyes to the beauty all around me, to the daily miracles that are right outside my window each morning.

I often wonder how life will change once I have two little ones. For so long, it has just been Raven and me here during the day, with each morning starting out with her consistent question of: “What are we going to do today, Mommy?” I’ve tried to make sure each day has an intentional moment of fun, novelty, or learning in it, so that when that question comes up at breakfast (because I know it will), I’ll have an answer that will give her (and me) something to look forward to, something to talk about when Daddy gets home from work.

The dynamic will change a lot in the next few months. It will no longer be possible to focus all my attention on her, each day and every day, and it will be a big adjustment.

For both of us.

But I get excited when I think of her having her own little playmate each day, her own flesh-and-blood brother that she can play games with and imagine with and to whom she can teach everything she knows.

My eyes filled with tears as I put her to bed last night–as it washed over me that this was my last night tucking in my two-year-old because I knew in the morning, she would be “Three three three!” (as she puts it).

And this weeping and nostalgia are things I share with all mothers, I think—how we ache to watch our children grow up right before our eyes, but how we view it as the greatest  honor and joy there is to be able to do so.

And thus it goes—I cry because she’ll never be two again, yet I rejoice that there will be other moments worth weeping over their loss, their passing.

Happy birthday, my precious Raven girl. Thank you for helping your momma become exactly who she needs to be.

You also might like:

Today, You Are One (+ Thoughts on My First Year of Motherhood)

Today, You Are Two