It's defining. It's lesson after lesson after lesson. It's pure bliss, and then heartache and anguish. It is strength, and it is love.
To all the new moms out there, wondering what it will be like, and how you will know what to do: they will show you. Your children will teach you, and a mother will be born.
How do I know? Because mine have taught me everything. And they have created me – the me that I am now. The best, and sometimes worst version of myself. The strongest me I have ever been.
They created my highest of highs and my lowest of lows. I have watched them through classroom windows with pride and adoration, I have laughed at them and with them, I have protected them from falls, danger, and the dark side of life.
I have bottled up the way they say certain words, the way one twin calls the other "babe," the way their creamy skin begs to be kissed, the sound of their giggles and mispronounced words.
And they showed me the quick passage of time.
I have called 911 with my heart beating hot in my eardrums, I have rubbed small crying backs, soothed cries in the ER and the ICU, I have placed band-aids over imaginary boo boos, run out into the street for help from neighbors, I have nursed fevers, coughs, sore throats, and I have cleaned up vomit.
And they showed me my strength.
I have witnessed first smiles, felt tiny pudgy fingers wrap around me, felt the breath of a child melt into mine, breathed in that candy-like smell that only babies have, and I have felt the weight of a sleeping child tether me to this earth.
And they showed me the power of my love.
I have had days that dragged on and on, I have had days where I did things just to pass the time, I have had days were the whining, crying, fighting, constant demands, tantrums, and defiance have whittled me down and tightened my chest. I have had days where I wonder how I will make it through. I have had mornings where I wake up thinking, how will I do this all again? And then I see their little faces, hear their squeaky voices, feel their soft arms wrap around me. And I understand that these are the things push me forward.
And they showed me my perseverance.
I have woken all hours of the night, so tired I felt sick. I have spent entire days in motion - working, cleaning, feeding, shopping, bathing, driving, entertaining, and enriching. I have abandoned make-up, surrendered to the fact that showers are not always in the cards, and I have stolen bites of food in between the constant work. I have grown human beings (in one case two at a time) inside my body, and then delivered them into the world. I have wept hormonal tears, frightened tears, and overwhelmed tears. I have showered my aching body at the end of the day, washing off sweat, spit up, and food. I have said good-bye to a mid-size car, and hello to a minivan.
And they showed me sacrifice.
I have spent a 7 week stay in the hospital, growing tiny babies and praying day after day that they stay inside a little longer. I have touched my babies through incubators, held them nervously with cords and wires attached, and I have sat in a dark NICU listening to the hum and beeps of alarms. I have given birth to twins, and driven home empty handed. I have recovered from a C-section with the flu and no sleep, pressing a pillow over my incision with every piercing cough. I have brought home a new baby to twin toddlers. I have walked through sleep regressions, night terrors, biting, behavior issues, health issues, cries for attention, and new territories.
And they showed me how to adapt, and how to push through.
I have bad parenting days, where my patience runs thin from the crack of dawn until bedtime. I've had days where I have yelled. Days where I am desperate for a break. Days were I wish I could go back and do it all over again with more composure and more tolerance. And yet they continue to look at me like I hung the moon.
And they showed me compassion and forgiveness.
I have answered the question "Why, Mommy?" 500 times a day. I have showed them how to use a fork, how to use a potty, good manners (still working on that!), numbers, letters, colors, and how basic things work.
And in turn, they taught me who I was.
What kind of person am I, you might wonder? What kind of mother will I be? The answers are already there, inside of you.