Wednesday, June 23, 2010

When I grow up...

My daughter's on a kick--

"When I grow up, I'm going to be..."

Her list has included everything from astronaut to veterinarian; actress to rock star. Somewhere in that list, she wants to be "a mommy like you."

Most mothers' hearts would burst with joy at the sound of that--that my daughter is so happy with my role as her mom, that she'd want the same thing for herself. It's either that, or I'm screwing up royally and she wants to do better than me.

I always knew that I wanted to be a mother. The first time I got married, I was eighteen years old. I believed it was the right thing to do, because it seemed like my only opportunity to live a truly good life. I married a young preacher and set off on a mission to change the world. We started strong, or so I thought. By the age of twenty, Josh was born and then Cale just two years later. By twenty-four, I had accomplished more than I ever thought; I owned a growing business, had two beautiful kids, a successfull pastor as a husband--but I was absolutely miserable.

I couldn't put a finger on why until a few years later; but I was so sad, lonely, frustrated and fearful that it just ate me up inside. By the time I was twenty-five, deception, heartbreak and despair set in full force. Our marriage ended and I couldn't deal with anything, so I could only assume that suicide was my only option. Better for everyone around me (including my boys) if their crazy mother wasn't around to ruin their lives. I failed in my follow through...thank God.

Fast forward a hospital stay and a few years later; and I was married again, in control of my depression and anxiety, had two more beautiful children (including my only girl) and my life was still falling apart. Before we ever reached our 6th wedding anniversary, marriage #2 was over.

Thanks to the love and support of really good friends, my mother and brother, and a lot of time alone to think about my choices and what would happen next; I found myself quite at peace with my decisions. I slept well, felt strong and secure in my own skin for the first time in years. Don't misunderstand hurt like hell. Failures like that (twice) take time to get over; crap, I'm still getting over them. But I realized that I could be happy & healthy without another person telling me I was. I could look in the mirror and be okay with the woman & mother I was. My life was nowhere near ideal, but I was content and safe; all four of my kids were in healthy environments and as a mother, I couldn't ask for more than that.

It was then, that I fell in love with my best friend.

So here I am, almost thirty-four and very happy. Jason and I are committed to ourselves, each other & our family. Sometimes, I wish that the kids only ever saw this time in my life--no drama, not heartache in their parents' eyes. But other times...I think that maybe they are lucky to witness certain parts of this. I've decided to always be honest with them, to answer their questions with care and tenderness. I truly believe with everything I am, that if my parents had done this with me--just been honest about how things really were and could be--I could've been spared a little bit of the struggle. I believe that my own kids will make the right decisions in their own lives.

So when Elena says she wants to follow in my footsteps, I tell her that she will be a wonderful mommy. I tell her that someday, she'll fall in love and have a family of her own; but until then, I tell her to love herself, her God and those around her first. I remind her not to be in such a hurry to grow up; that everything comes in it's own time. And that, when it does, it's very well worth the wait.

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