Some people are born knowing their direction in life, what they are to be. Others receive a calling later. A clear sign of what direction they should head in.
I am part of the latter.
I spent many, many years pursuing various interests only to realize that they were not what I was meant to do. I watched as people around me worked and sacrificed to realize their dreams. They moved across the country, they worked numerous jobs to pay for school; they stayed awake longer than humanly possible, all in the name of their life’s work.
I was envious. There wasn’t anything I was willing to move mountains for, nothing that I would up-heave my life in order to obtain. I wondered if somehow I had missed my sign. That maybe I had been sent the calling but never realized it enough to answer.
I drifted along, trying to avoid eye contact with my future. When conversation turned to "someday" I stayed as vague as possible. My "someday" consisted of a family; a career, a calling, never entered my daydreams.
I wanted to be a mom. But after so many years of fighting for women’s liberation, for equality, was I doing my gender, myself, a disservice by wanting to be "only" a mother? I didn’t know, so I kept my goals to myself.
I was told my life would change the moment my first child was born. I was told it would never be the same. The tones of these warnings were always cautionary. "Enjoy your life while you can," style warnings. I appreciated the concern for my impending loss of freedom but approached motherhood the way I approached most things in my life, I would have to figure it out on my own, making my own opinions and conclusions along the way.
The moment my eyes met my daughter’s for the first time everything changed. My life, for the first time in 30 years, had meaning, direction. I had found my calling. My life would never be the same and I wouldn’t change a thing.
I wasn’t raised in a strong religious family. My grandparents attended church and I would occasionally tag along. I envied the people who worshiped with such faith and conviction. I hoped that I would find that some day.
Then I became a mother. I finally knew what it was like to have complete and utter faith in something. To believe so strongly that you would lay your life on the line for it. I understood what it was like to believe, unwaveringly, in something I could not see, smell, or touch. I had found my faith in my child and in love. Pure, absolute, love.
I finally found something that I would move mountains for. Something I would lose sleep to make happy. I had found the thing I would walk across the Earth to keep. I found my calling in motherhood, in love.
Some days are hard. I wonder if this really is what I was meant to do. I struggle to keep my head above water meanwhile the bathroom is flooding. But then, just as I am about to take a giant breath before my head submerges, she says it. "I love you mommy."
I gasp for air. I can hear those words every day for a million years and they will always take my breath away while somehow making it easier to breath.
She gives me faith in myself. She makes me believe that I can, in fact, do this. She makes me want to be a better person, so she will have someone worth looking up to. She, and her unborn sibling, are my calling.
During my darkest days, when I feel like I am failing, I sit quietly and look at the life I created with my husband. I think about how big she loves. I think about all she is to do. I think about how blessed I am to know her, then I allow myself to realize, this was my doing. I am raising one hell of a kid; clearly I am doing something right.
There will always be days full of tears and fits. There will be fights and struggles. But, through it all I know that I chose this life. I chose to have a family, to become a mother and in doing so, I found myself. I found my potential, I found my dreams, I found my voice.
This Mother’s Day, I celebrate my children. I celebrate the life that will never be the same. I celebrate the sleepless nights and the spread too thin days. I celebrate the good and the bad. I celebrate love. I celebrate it all because it is all that I have, and I couldn’t be happier.
Michelle writes from the home she shares with her husband, their three year old daughter and two dogs. She is the authority on nothing and may just be the most outgoing shy person you will ever meet. Her daughter is convinced she is a super hero but most days she feels more like the super villain. Read more of her work on her blog at www.JuiceboxConfession.com All love letters can be sent to JuiceboxConfession@gmail.com.