i saw you today at the pool, mother-to-be.
i saw your gloriously large, bulging-with-life belly.
i saw your adorable messy bun, or top-knot, or whatever it’s called these days.
i saw your neatly packed pool bag, complete with snacks & a good book & all the things sunscreen.
i saw your sun-kissed cheeks & your tanned arms.
i saw your fluffy, like-new beach towel…i am sure it smelled of fresh detergent.
i saw your classy, scratch-proof, polarized sunglasses. (for more on my love of sunglasses, read An open letter to the young mother I met at the beach )
22 years ago, i was you.
i was just on the verge of motherhood.
i was eager with anticipation.
i was ready to meet my little one & show him/her the world.
i had hopes & dreams & nervous excitement & fear.
i was sure my child would be Valedictorian & also sure that he/she would never learn to breastfeed correctly.
i was convinced i would raise a child who would become a doctor or a lawyer & I was also just as sure that he/she might end up a homeless beggar.
i was certain i would have a child that loved God & maybe would become a preacher just like his/her father & I was also maybe just as sure he/she might become a serial killer.
i thought it all.
i compared my belly to other pregnant mothers.
i compared my skin tone to that of others.
if i knew my neighbor read to the baby in HER belly every night, EVEN ON THE WEEKENDS, i wondered should i be reading to the baby in my belly more??
did i need a gate or a fence or even a wall to protect my little person from getting out into the world? did i need the same to keep the world from getting in?
i wondered if my house was equipped enough to raise a child & was my heart big enough to love one.
would i be able to stay home?
would i be able to work?
could i honestly say i was ready to commit my life to following another human being around for at least a minimum of the next 7-10 years EVERY MINUTE OF EVERY DAY, minus, possibly, some time while he/she slept????
would i ever read another book or go out on another date or take time for myself at the gym or to sleep??? would i ever even sleep again???
would i forget my child in the tub or the church or the store or, God forbid, the car????
was i even capable of mothering?
here’s what i can tell you twenty-two years later sweet, ready-to-bloom momma:
you will do it all wrong & you will simultaneously do it all right.
you will have moments of sheer genius & they will be preceded or followed just as quickly by moments of sheer madness.
sweet momma, your hopes & dreams & excitement & fear are all valid & they are all okay.
if your child is Valedictorian, that will be amazing.
if he/she never learns to breastfeed properly, guess what?? that is okay as well.
if you raise a child who becomes a doctor or a lawyer, fantastic…but, homeless beggars have mommas, too.
they have people who love them & miss them & pray for them & want to hold them and THAT IS ALL OKAY.
you might raise a child who loves God. cling to that. verbalize that. embrace & proclaim that.
he/she might become a preacher. that would be incredible.
but, serial killers have mommas as well. and IT’S NOT THEIR FAULT. they still love them & miss them & pray for them & want to hold them.
keep your focus, momma.
don’t look to the neighbor on the right or the neighbor on the left for your validation.
don’t watch another woman walk the aisles of the grocery store & wonder how you measure up.
you were only meant to be you & your sweet child was meant for the parents he/she is born into or adopted out to and EVERY BIT OF THAT IS IN THE MASTER PLAN.
you will laugh & you will cry & you will curse & you will pray.
you will watch your dreams rise & fall & you will watch their dreams do the same.
and one day, one day that will be here much sooner than you could ever believe possible, you will be me.
you will see the fresh mommas just starting this journey & you will remember it all.
it’s all worth it.
let your journey be your own & allow your momma friends to have their own journeys as well.
everyone will have much more to talk about sitting on the park bench in a few years, if so.
and so there is that…