Although the context and sincerity now escape me, I can clearly remember a classmate telling me in the freshman gym locker room, after P.E., that I would be a good mom some day. For whatever reason, this comment has stuck with me ever since, which is interesting since I have been out of high school for over a decade (and a half).
Me – a mom. Me – a good mom. What does that even mean?
Six years into Mama Life and there are still days I get caught up on the first statement, let alone the second. Me – a mom. Are there other parents out there who find themselves knee-high in sippy cups, surrounded by piles of pint-sized clothes, wondering, How exactly did I get here? OK, so I know how we got here; after four babies in six years, I have had my share of answering the question, “You know how that happens, right?” Yes, yes I do. But to be a parent – to be a grown-up for Pete’s sake; these are the realities of my daily life that still mange to sneak up on me sometimes and blow my mind a bit.
For one thing, how I am old enough to be in charge of this much responsibility? I mean, I can look in the mirror or at the backs of my hands and see signs of my age, but let me break it to you dear 20-somethings out there – no one is kidding when they say the years fly by, and as they do, others around you may start to look younger, but you never really feel like you look/are older. At least I don’t. I may be way more tired than I was at 23 (or maybe just tired for different reasons) and a titch paranoid about the dark circles under my eyes, but I don’t actually feel like it took me all that long to get here, so how different can I be?
But me – a mom. Even though it is pretty much all I ever wanted to be, I see now just how much it has changed me. I am very different from the me of ten years ago (and certainly so from the me who heard the original “You’ll be…” statement almost – gasp! – twenty years ago). Through all this growth and change brought forth by the last ten years, and in the last six especially, I have come to understand (and sometimes even appreciate) that life is not all sunshine and rainbows, no matter how colorful my drawer of kid cups may be.
This brings me back to the qualifier: me – a good mom. That is something I strive to be every day, but of course it does not come without a certain amount of fear, doubt, and dare I say, failed attempts (?!) as I navigate the actual world of my life as mom. Again, I am so often floored when I stop and take stock of where/who/what I am that I find myself regularly caught between How did I get so blessed to call this all mine? and Who in their right minds put me here? How can I possibly be the one to determine if how I’m doing is in fact “good” or not?
Because, frankly, much of my day-to-day as mom is a haul. Life with Littles is draining and it is daunting, and the freaking lids and straws you grab are almost never a match for the cup you’re holding in your other hand, at least not on the first go. The hours are long and the noises loud; the colors both bright and a blur of kids in motion. Sometimes it is hours or even weeks before I can figure out which moments in a given day were good and which ones just were; perhaps it is this constant guessing game/shift in perspective that does indeed make the years pass by so quickly.
As for the prediction of (what feels like not-so) long ago? I have no idea how that classmate would assess the outcome if I asked her to do so now; I doubt she even remembers making the claim. However, the words are ones that will continue to bounce around my brain as I in turn continue this journey through mamahood, for ultimately they bring me a sense of peace – the thought that the world recognizes that what I am doing with my life is exactly what I am meant to be doing, and that at times, I even do it well.
That even in the (colorful) chaos, there is great beauty and great hope, the ultimate promise of a rainbow.
And thus, my (sippy) cup (drawer) runneth over.