A strange and wonderful journey that is wholly unpredictable and out of your control overtakes your life when you make the decision to become a mother. An alien suite of emotions invade your mind and body. If you are lucky you have words to describe those emotions. I am not. There is no word in the English language that sufficiently describes the lengths to which I would go to protect my daughter. Or the mountains I would move to help my son. Or the pain I feel when they are disappointed or afraid. Where did this all come from? Where was it before I felt it? Does every parent suffer so?
A friend of mine reminded me recently of the time immediately following Sebastian's birth when she and her husband visited us from the USA. She recalls that I was adamant about how the addition of this baby to our lives was not going to dramatically change our life. We would just add the baby to our existing life framework.
I, of course, have no recollection of this. But I don't doubt that it is true. I think at the time I imagined parenthood as the giving up of oneself and the antithesis of everything I was about. I was LaDawn, an individual. No one no how was going to alter this person I had worked so hard to become. Dependent on no one and no one dependent on me. Able to stay out all night long or stay in bed all day long. Able to travel any where in the world at a moment's notice. Never look at the price tags of desired objects. Hear me roar.
But when you become a mother this surrender of self is less to do with giving something up and more about becoming something else.
I never imagined that I would find joy in watching my children play together. I never imagined I would feel ecstasy over a perfect spelling test score (his not mine) after a week of hard work (both of ours). I didn't know how exquisite it would feel to have tiny, warm, soft, strong hands and arms encircle my neck and hang on tight as her eyes drooped shut after a long hard day at play.
The sacrifices are enormous. Some days my brain is mush from playing Power Rangers. I am forever cleaning up Play Doh from every crevice of my home. I can't afford to get weekly manicures or massages. I invest in my children's education and future. The returns on this investment are gigantic although probably not measurable.
I like who I am today. And I love the person my children have made me.