I feel like my life as a mother is like the Alanis Morset’s song, “Ironic.” The words in my head are a little different though. Something more akin to “your kid just pooped, when your already late”, or the “Benny Hill” theme song plays in my head when I’m chasing my girls around the house, car or wherever. Motherhood is ironic at times and it is hard work. In fact, it is the hardest job I have ever had. There are challenges, there are trials to overcome, and sometimes it can be discouraging. Motherhood is also beautiful, fulfilling, rewarding, and brings such joy to my life. It can even be a lot of fun! But motherhood is so much more than those few words. It is an experience beyond incredible. I am so grateful that I have been able to be a mother and I wouldn’t change anything about my experiences. The journey has been exciting, tiring, and full of joy in the few years I have been a mother. It has also been full of surprises. Lots of surprises. Being a mother is life changing, but the surprises that have come with my experiences have changed me far more than I could even imagine.
I am the oldest of three girls and my mom is incredible. The older I get and with the more children I have, the more I ask her, “How did you do it!?” She was hardworking, funny, stylish and she was “the cool mom”. She was a great cook and a pioneer aerobic instructor back in the early 80’s. She also worked as a dental assistant, did PTA, was a girl scout leader, a cheerleading coach, volunteered when needed, and would even work at our favorite clothing store so that we could get discounts. Despite life’s ups, downs, and “surprises”, we truly had a blessed childhood. I can’t even put into words how grateful I am to the two of them and for all that they did. The reality I have come to understand with age, is that my mother worked three jobs to keep up with everything she couldn’t bear to take away from us. It even meant selling things she enjoyed, like a leather coat or jewelry, to help pay for the things we kids enjoyed. The sacrifices that she made brings tears to my eyes. She is a strong woman, and I feel I owe so much more than just love and gratitude to her. Her strength and great example is helping me through my motherhood experiences now. With a soon to be four year old, a just turned two year old, and another on the way, I find myself already involved with PTA, volunteering, dance and gymnastics classes, and more on top of my own life aspirations as an artist, advocate for differently-abled individuals, photographer, business woman,blogger, and pet mom. How can I do this all? Like my mom, I can’t say no to things. I might complain about a full plate, but really, I want to do it all while trying to be the best mom I can in the process. I’d be fine with the “World’s Okay-est Mom” title. Hopefully I will go out in the end knowing that I had always tried my best at being a mother and became a better person from being one.
In 2011, I married my best friend, Scott. Truly friends before we were romantic, we dated for 4 (or more?) years before we were married. I think we both feel like it was just meant to be. A month after we were married, we learned we were expecting our first child. SURPRISE! I remember thinking that I wasn’t ready for motherhood in the least, but ultimately, we were thrilled. We were even more thrilled to find out that we were having a little girl. I had a wonderful, healthy pregnancy! After two days of false labor and 16 hours of active labor, we were surprised with an unplanned C-section. The whole experience was a bit of a blur. But eventually, Eva was here! She was just so beautiful. We thought she was perfect and we instantly fell in love. Looking at our first born, we knew that Eva was going to be special. Little did we know how special she really was.
On the second of being in the hospital, we learned that there was a possibility that Eva could have a genetic disorder known as Trisomy 21, or Down Syndrome (DS). We had normal ultrasounds and negative pre-natal screenings for DS; we just couldn’t believe the news. Eva later was transferred to the NICU to be treated for some complications, which as new parents, we didn’t think much of. The night we found out in the hospital that Eva could have DS, we had mixed feelings, mostly of sadness and doubt. Those feelings were quickly replaced with, “how are we so blessed?” and “how did we get so lucky?”. Now don’t get me wrong, every child is a special blessing, but we both kind of felt that we would actually be disappointed to be told she did not have DS, because we might not get to enjoy the experiences that come with a special needs child. Feeling at peace with knowing our Eva could possibly have DS, it was finally confirmed when she was 4 weeks old. We were surprised again to find out that Eva had a congenital heart defect and would need open heart surgery at six months old. The whole time was difficult, exhausting, and was probably the hardest experience for Scott and I. Because of our unique circumstances, none of our friends or family had gone through anything like this, so we were going into this on our own. This experience was so different than what either of our parents had, even though they were incredibly supportive, how could they truly understand what we were going through? After her surgery there were complications that kept us at the hospital longer than anticipated, but on Thanksgiving 2012, we went home with a healthy, happy baby girl. She has brought such joy and happiness to our lives and she continues to surprise us with such great and amazing things. We are just so grateful to be her parents and I am so grateful that I was chosen to be her mother.
Around Eva’s first birthday, we found out we were expecting again. Although we weren’t completely shocked, we weren’t exactly planning on our little girl, Elsie. Much like Eva, we felt Elsie was meant to be with us, despite the surprise. We are convinced Elsie was born to be Eva’s best friend and support. They are two peas in a pod. Two crazy peas in a pod, sometimes. Elsie is overly curious, quirky, quick to learn, funny and is a giant ball of energy. It is that energy, though, that usually gives our, sometimes, shy Eva a little more confidence every day. Together they get into a lot of trouble, but we wouldn’t trade it for anything. I have just recently felt like I was finally finding balance in my life with two. This past January, I found out that we were expecting again. Surprise again! Without getting into detail, let’s just say that I was beyond shocked. To be honest, I wasn’t thrilled that I was pregnant, and that I was going to be a mother to another little human. I digested the news and to our excitement, we found out we were having a little boy. I don’t know what it will be like with three, I don’t know what is to come, and I don’t know how I will do everything. Like everyone else, I don’t have it figured out. I do expect there to be great joy, tears, dirty dishes, less showering than I would like, laundry piled high and drive-through dinners. I will have another beautiful face to look at though, and with that there will be more happiness, more sacrifice and more stories to tell. I love being a mother and I will do my best, no matter what challenges or surprises I may face. The greatest joys in my life have ended up being the best surprises in my life, my children.