Tuesday, May 27, 2014

A Mother Was Born

March 24, 2002. A little more than 12 years ago I began the most challenging role of my life: mother. Up until that point I had been a daughter, student, friend, girlfriend, coworker, and wife but none of those roles had prepared me for my new position. I remember bringing our daughter home from the hospital and being amazed that they actually let my husband and I leave with her. The fact that we were allowed – and expected – to assume complete responsibility for this brand new life, this sweet little baby girl, was astounding to me. I kept waiting for someone to come tell us that they had made a mistake, that clearly we had no idea what we were doing – because we didn’t – and that she couldn’t go home with us. But no one came, and off we went, and oh what a journey it has been! There have been so many adventures and new experiences, a long line of firsts: first smile, first tears, first words, first teeth, first steps, first friends, first arguments, first days of school, first dance recital, first swim meet, first school dance, first communion. We have celebrated and rejoiced with each new skill, each new accomplishment, and each new step in the crazy dance toward adulthood.

This spring we’ve added a new first – a first boyfriend. And with this new first, all of those feelings of uncertainty and ill preparedness from the day we brought our precious bundle of joy home have come roaring back! Have we taught her to be kind and caring? Have we taught her to be respectful of herself and others? Have we taught her about healthy relationships and love? Have we done enough to help her feel empowered to make good decisions about her personal health and well-being? And the honest answer is: I don’t know.

But what I do know is that we have strived to create an ongoing dialogue, an atmosphere of openness, so that she never feels like she can’t ask us questions. I want her to know and understand that she should never be afraid to come to us with anything and that we will always try to listen.  We have always told her that as her parents we have three jobs: to keep her safe, to help her grow and to help her learn – with LOVE. We may not always have the answers but we can look for them together. Who knows where this journey is heading… but I can’t wait to find out!

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