Sunday, October 7, 2012

....and then reality kicks you in the stomach

I'm not sure if this feeling is unique to me or if it is universal among parents.

As a little girl I often thought about being a mother.  I'm sure the majority of young girls spend countless hours playing dolls, house, etc. I surely was among them. I can recall being a teenager and talking with my friends about having kids and watching all of those TLC baby shows on the weekends with my own mother. (thanks, TLC, for the complete lack of reality about how childbirth really goes...)  I can even recall one very hazy memory my freshman year of college when I told my mother that it didn't matter what sort of career I had because all I ever really wanted to be was a Mom.

Prior to getting married Kirk and I discussed having children, the when, the how many... you know how those discussions go.  And when we had our first, and then our second heartbreaking experience the idea of being a mother seemed so very far away.  When we conceived Whit  I was hesitant to tell anyone that we were expecting and I scarcely let myself believe that I was pregnant.  The entire time it seemed as though I was pretending.  Yet my belly grew bigger and about the time the fact that I actually had a child inside of me became a reality, it was time for him to enter the world.  Those first few weeks operating on little to no sleep made the experience seem like a dream.  As Whit got older people would comment on how cute he was.  I would agree and then wonder to myself when his parents were going to show up to get him.

When my students ask if and when I want more children, I shrug, struggling to accept the fact that I have "children" at all.  Wow! I have "a child."  That must make me a grown up.  So why do I still feel like I'm 18, or even 21, and I'm playing pretend with someone else's kid?

Now that Whit is nearly 2 1/2 years old the reality is finally beginning to set in.  Still, I have moments, especially when I am away from Whit and speaking of him to friends or students, that it all seems made up.

The other night I experienced a bit of a revelation.  It was about 2 am and I was wedged in bed with Kirk on one side of me and Whit on the other (with his feet in my face).  About that time reality kicked me in the stomach. 

I had better come to terms with being Whit's mom because I'm about to become a mother of two!!

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