Being a mother has pushed me so far out of my comfort zone that I have to wear a safety helmet just to look back at what I have done in the last five years.
I have suffered the indignities of (multiple) trans-vaginal ultrasounds. I have worn more bodily fluids than I thought was possible to house in a toddler. I have survived the withering glance of cruel old women in a McDonalds, a glance made because my child's coat fell on the floor, oh the horror! I have allowed my home to be overrun by Star Wars guys and princess dress-up clothes, by Little People and washable markers.
But most of all, I have relinquished my meager sense of control. I know that, despite me wishing, hoping and cajoling, my children are not me. They are bound -- mandated, even -- to live their own lives, to make their own mistakes, and to celebrate their own victories. They are growing, reaching, yearning in spite of me.
It is simply my job to cultivate the world around them, to make it a safe place for them to test their imaginations, theories, and flights of fancy. I wield the sword of motherhood, the shield of love, and the helm of experience and I use this armor daily as I fight to keep my children free - free to become a person that is so ultimately NOT ME.
I could, perhaps, try to force them into a life that is as ill-fitting as a pair of outgrown shoes, but has anyone ever looked back and said, "I am so glad my parents loved who they wanted me to be and not who I am! Really, I am..."
And so I equip them with manners, advise them on how to approach decisions, and help them understand consequences. In every moment, I leave them with as many tools as I know possible because surely one of them will fit the situation, right? But in some instances there are no tools, there is no expertise, and my advice is not heeded. And then I open my arms wide, wide, wide to engulf my hurt, angry, or utterly confused babe, using my body and heart to create a barrier, to hopefully absorb some of the pain, to help them make sense of the nonsense. On every breath I hope that I have done it right, knowing that I am fighting a losing battle, that there are times when my love will not be enough, not even close to enough.
This is why I am Theta Mom. To find out what that means, check out this blog entry over at Theta Mom.