I saw a darling t-shirt advertised the other day. It said, “BLESSED MAMA.” These days I notice t-shirts like I smell steak on a grill. Since my motto is, “the redder, the better,” you can imagine how I can sniff out a t-shirt like a backyard BBQ. I see t-shirts walking down the street or sitting at a cafe table and I try to figure out if it’s sublimation or HTV. I analyze how far down from the neck it starts, how much shirt space is used, and what kind of material it is. My skills as private t-shirt investigator do need to improve so people don’t mistake me for staring at their chests, or breasts.
Everything I am has been influenced by my role as a mom. It’s been a privilege to navigate this life with two people who drove my decisions, and when decisions went sideways, knowing they needed me to be their compass gave me cause to redirect. It’s an awesome assignment that I chose to accept. What choices would I have made were it not for these two lives who depended on someone to nourish their body, spirit, and soul?
I might be living life in NYC working for Everlane. I’d wake up, have coffee while doing a devotional, ride my bike through the city to work. I’d stay until 5, get a drink with a friend, go to the Columbia University talk on “Why Curbside Recycling isn’t Working” (or in my ideal world, I’d present), get home in time to read a chapter in Anne Lamott’s latest book, practice for the part I’m hoping to get in the new Off Broadway rendition of Legally Blonde that has been opened up to people who have never acted before, then snuggle in my clean sheets (that do not include Winky hair), and dream of my upcoming trip to Paris.
That sounds incredible! But while today I can imagine making choices that would lead me to that life, I don’t think I could have imagined anything like that in my early thirties. At age 34 when I got married I don’t remember any aspirations. I assume I sought happiness, but outside of that, I had no tangible goals or ideals. I lived day to day with a survivor mentality and good work ethic and I plodded along, hoping someone would fall in love with me. I loved God, but for several years I had abandoned walking with him. My decisions were only influenced by what felt good and seemed right enough at the time.
Someone did fall in love with me. We got married and two years later we had Bridgey and two years after that, Bradley. Instantly what once felt right or good enough, wasn’t good enough. Decisions took on more weight and relevance and impacted our children and their well being. When I was pregnant most everyone who was pregnant read a book called “What to Expect When You’re Expecting.” It gave explanation to euphoria, vomiting, pickles and ice cream, swelling, and everything in between during this 9 month metamorphosis. Everyone read it (or rather, referred to it) because our bodies are fundamentally the same and there is a predictability in the pregnancy experience. But there was no one book called, “What to Expect When You’re a Parent.” Instead, there are more books on parenting than there are stars in the sky. No two families are alike, so there are many theories, angles, philosophies, and strategies.
I took this new role seriously, but felt I was stumbling along like a blind person. I touched my way through, anticipating a final destination. I’d find my way out, filled with relief and joy, but then discovered there was another door to go through. Tap here, try this, test that, stumble, scrape, and crash. Then another door, and another, and another.
If I had imagined raising my kids on my own, you couldn’t have dragged me through that door. Yet when I was faced with it, unknowingly, Bridgette and Bradley pulled me through it. These two souls who I longed to foster into the best they could be, regardless of what door, house, or circumstance they faced, created in me courage and determination to transform me into the best I can be.
I’m a blessed mama. I love you two!
Side Note: My alter self isn’t opposed to that life in NYC. You never know. I could get that job at Everlane!