I missed a couple of weeks here because I have been busy moving to a new apartment and helping my daughter move to her first apartment, approximately 1000 miles away from here. Not surprisingly, I've been doing a lot of reflecting on motherhood lately.
When I was young, I never wanted to have children. I didn't see myself as the nurturing type. That's because I'm not.
I hated every minute of pregnancy, except for the occasional times near the end when my baby and I would "play." She'd stick up a foot or a hand, and I'd push it down. She'd stick it up again someplace else. We played that game a lot. Typically it ended with her doing something like a back flip off my tailbone, landing on my bladder. That ended the fun.
The morning she was born, I looked into her eyes, and I fell in love with the kind of mother-bear love that can only be experienced and never described. She was my responsibility and I intended to care for her fiercely. I have never for one second felt that she "belonged" to me. She belongs to God alone. I always saw myself a God's nanny. I was responsible for her care and feeding. It was my job to get her from that Tuesday morning C-section to adulthood, intact and with the ability to read, write and (usually) play well with others.
For several years after her birth, I did not work for wages. Being a wife and mother was my full-time job. Even after I went back to work, I saw myself primarily as a wife and mother. Work was just something I did for extra money.
When her father and I divorced, I was no longer a wife, but my role as mother continued. For the last few years, my main purpose in life was to get her through college without racking up too much debt for either of us. She is now a college graduate, and we have only one small loan remaining. Mission accomplished! Kudos to both of us.
And now, my daughter is moving on. She is ready to build her own life apart from me. She is nervous and a little scared, as perhaps she should be. I, however, am excited for her. I have no doubt that she will do well in life. She's lovely and vivacious, smart and funny. She has great people skills. In short, she's got everything it takes to be happy if she can manage to resist the cultural pressure to always want more. She is on the threshold of a new adventure. I'm happily standing on the sidelines, cheering her on.
I am happy and excited for me as well. I'm moving on, too. I'll always be a mom, but it's not my full-time job anymore. Thanks to texting and email, we'll be able to keep in close touch no matter where she is. Now, I can focus on building a new life for myself.
If the cycle of a woman's life is Maiden-Mother-Crone, I'm transitioning to the third phase. And (somewhat surprisingly) I'm loving it!