The Mother I Am
Today started out as a normal day. However, there is nothing normal about it. It’s a very special day. Today, my baby girl turns 13. Last week, my boy turned 15. Crazy how fast time goes by. It seems that only a few years ago, I was cradling them in my arms, trying so hard to stop the tears and keep up with the demands of a toddler and a newborn. I was wishing that time would just fast-forward to when it could be easier. Fast-forward, it certainly did. Get easier, it did not.
As I sit here, I am reminded of all the things I am missing out on. Why is it that the ego is so quick to show us all the ways in which we fail in life? Or at least, give us the perception that we are failing miserably? Today, I choose to shush my ego and instead remind myself of all the ways I am maintaining a healthy and happy relationship with my kids even though I miss out on the day-to-day things. Don’t get me wrong. I miss out on a lot but I also get to experience a lot with them.
Years ago, I made the difficult decision to move to a new city without my kids. Yes, it was my decision, but that doesn’t make it any easier. This is usually the part where my ego likes to stand tall and shout at the top of its lungs: “You made that choice, so live with it,” and I do. I live with it daily. When I meet new people and they ask me if I have kids, I hesitate to answer. For fear that I will have to explain my situation and that they will undoubtedly judge me. I mean—what kind of mother leaves her kids?!? I’ve asked myself that question many times over the last seven years. And I still don’t have an answer.
A mother is a mother, no matter the circumstances. If you’ve given birth to a child, adopted a child, had a surrogate carry your child—regardless of the method in which you chose to open your heart up and love a child unconditionally, you have every right to call yourself a mother. Society creates so many labels in life, and we allow those labels to stick.
I love my kids. I would love to have my kids with me every single day, but that is not the case. I see them as much as is possible, and this changes all the time. I try to find as many ways as I can to let them know that they are always on my mind, in my heart. I try to be creative in the ways in which I connect with them, and when they are with me, I give them 100% of my time and attention. Does it make up for all the times I’m not with them? I don’t know. But what I do know is that I will not continue to beat myself up for decisions I’ve made. And I will not spend the rest of my life explaining myself to strangers or anyone as to why my children are not with me.
The reality of the situation is that I have two well-rounded, intelligent, funny, polite, and charming kids. I may not be raising them in the day-to-day world, but it doesn’t mean that I didn’t have any influence on them. It doesn’t mean that I am not participating in shaping them into the who they have become. And it certainly doesn’t mean that I am an absentee parent. Today, I will choose to honor the mother that I am instead of beating myself up for the mother I am not.