I snapped this picture a few weeks ago. My best friend and her brood, I can call them that since she has three kids now, came over to swim at my mom's house. It was hot, as is typical for this time of year in Fresno, and the perfect day to be in the pool. As we sat there, my friend marveled at the fact that we have reached the point in motherhood where we can sit and have a conversation. Our older kids outnumber our younger kids, so they can all help take care of each other. We sat, and talked about everything and nothing at all. It's something we have always wanted, as friends, for our kids to get along. For our children to call each other friends and grow up together. Sometimes that happens, and sometimes it doesn't. In that afternoon we drank in the blessing of having kids that can get along. Kids that have fun together no matter the gender.
But it was this picture in particular that gave me pause. These two daughters, not sisters, almost friends. Two little humans who were surprises. Who are blessings. Because I didn't want a second child. I was so scared to try motherhood again. To start over from scratch. Would it be as awful the second time around? Would I be able to recognize the fog, the darkness that almost swallowed me whole? Some how I found the courage to take a chance, to "hand it over to Jesus" (that is a direct quote, ask my best friend) and try motherhood again. It's the best cliff I've ever jumped off.
For the second little human up there, I won't tell her story. It isn't mine to tell. But I can tell you this, her mama, my best friend, had resigned herself to a life of boys. She had two boys by the time I had my two girls and we, collectively (and without our husbands input, I might add) decided that we were done. Two was good. Two felt right. And then, life happened and well, my best friend found out that three felt better. Now she is awash in pinks and glitter and tulle. She now dreams about pink ballet slippers and fancy Easter dresses. And while she will never trade her boys and their Ninja Power Rangers Lego catastrophes for anything, she will tell you that pink princess tea parties make her heart flutter.
It's so funny how you can make single declarations about motherhood, and be so incredibly wrong about them. In the beginning I hated being proved wrong by motherhood. Motherhood was supposed to be regimented and by the book. I was so wrong and so naive, and I'm thankful for that. I'm thankful that motherhood has proved me wrong time and again. If I had followed my fear, instead of letting go, I wouldn't have my second helping of motherhood. I wouldn't have my beautiful blessing. And if my best friend had listened to her own fears and the naysayers, she wouldn't have her beautiful blessing either.
The tale of these two daughters is beautiful and flawed and perfect and imperfect. It's a story about fear and love and overcoming the fears that seem impossibly large. Because the tale of these two daughters is just another tale of how motherhood continues to change their mothers again and again.