It’s taken a long time for this whole MOM thing to sink in for me. That sounds weird and it will take me paragraphs of rambling to clarify. What I mean is, for months after Little C was born I would hold him and gaze upon him and think, “We have a baby?!” Don’t get me wrong, I bonded with that little boy the minute he arrived and fell deeply in love the minute they laid him on my chest. I tear up at the thought every time I think of it. It was perfect and beautiful. I knew that I would love him forever and never want to let him go. My mom instincts kicked in and somehow I knew what to do (sidenote: isn’t that amazing?). But in the days and months following, it was just so weird to both my husband and I that we were parents and that this perfect, handsome little guy was ours. It was very surreal.
Maybe it’s the result of having a first baby at 30 years old? Maybe it’s just because it’s been the two of us for the last 4 years? Maybe it’s just weird of us. Though I have loved this journey, something in me was resistant to the idea of the word mom.
Then one day I clicked on the news and there was a story of a little toddler that had been found dead in a clothes dryer. And I bawled. Huge crocodile tears streaming down my cheeks. I was horrified. At the time, it was probably post-pregnancy hormones, but still.
A few months later the local news reported on a 6 week old baby found dead in an apartment with blunt force trauma. The twenty-something parents were arrested. The autopsy revealed a pattern of child abuse and old injuries. On a 6-week-old. And I bawled. I was angry. I wanted to rescue that little baby before it was too late and give her the home she deserved. My heart physically hurt watching that story.
Then last week happened. The tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary. 20 beautiful little children and 6 heroic adults killed. I was in shock when I first heard the news and started to read the reports coming in. Little C was at grandma’s house and I about drag raced across town to pick him up in the afternoon. I picked him up, hugged him tight and cried all the way home. I cry every time I think about it. I cry with every new report coming in. As I held Little C, asleep on my chest yesterday, I read more of the stories and reports and just cried as I held him. I cry and cry and know that those tears are just a pin drop of the tears all of those families must be crying. This is going to be a heartbreaking and impossible Christmas for a lot of families. And it always will be. We are a nation mourning for these kids.
But something felt deeper to me. I realized… I’m a mom, mourning for other moms who won’t get to kiss their kids goodnight ever again. These stories break my heart because I finally really FEEL and empathize with families affected by losing their children. Because I don’t want to imagine it. It hurts too much. It always saddened me to hear stories of hurt, lost or killed children, but there is something in me now that feels a physical pain and real grief. I “get it” in a real way. I am truly a mom now.
Friday night, I finally turned the news off and stopped reading CNN. I just couldn’t handle it anymore. I held Little C tightly, rocked him to sleep in my arms, whispered “I love you so very much” in his ear and I prayed over him… and cried some more. I know God will not protect my son from everything and I know that I can’t be there every single moment. That is a bittersweet reality that will take time for me to be okay with. But I love him and am a little bit more grateful than the day before and parenthood seems a whole lot sweeter.
I am a mom.
This is my son.
He is priceless.