A few weeks ago my neighbors and I were having a pow wow in the front yard. We were laughing and joking when one of my neighbors said, "You know what? I could have been a...". I can't remember what he said he was going to be. That's not the point, the point is that I replied, "We all could have been a lot of things, but now we are this". I wasn't saying it to be negative, I was just stating the obvious. We were a bunch of parents just sitting in the front yard, watching our kids play. Parents that work daily to figure out how to be the best parents and partners to our spouses. But the more I thought about it the more I realized there was more to it for me.
It's true. I could have been a lot of things. When I was four I wanted to be a ballerina. When I was nine I wanted to be a lawyer. In high school I wanted to be a fashion designer, then an editor at Sassy, and then an editor at Vogue. After college I wanted to be a buyer for Macy's. I feel like my whole life I've wanted to be something.
It's horrible being a mother wasn't always on my list of what I wanted to be when I grew up. that I didn't always want to become a mother? Maybe it's because I read way too much about strong women in impossible roles. It's possible that all the riot-girl vinyl continues to play in my subconscious. Maybe it's because I felt like I missed my era when I read about Gloria Steinem. Or it could just be that I just couldn't see myself as a mother. Whatever the reason, I had big dreams of what I was going to be when I grew up and being a wife and a mom were always afterthoughts.
Funny how something as simple as falling in love and getting married can change your mind. Once I could see myself as a wife, I could almost imagine myself as a mother. The more I thought about the more it sounded like a good idea. The more it seemed like it would fit. When I finally realized I wanted to be a mother, I went wholeheartedly. I had great ideas and ridiculously high hopes. Like all my other career aspirations, I had it all mapped out, I just knew, in my mind exactly how it would go. But as we all know, there are no plans when it comes to motherhood.
I was in the thick of it, when I finally decided I wanted to be a mom. I was knee deep in the shit that is motherhood. It was almost like a declaration: I want to be a good mother damn it. I want to do this. But more than that, I wanted to be their mother. The only one they will ever get.
The truth is, I am a mother, their mother, in the best and worst possible ways. I am flawed. I am loving. And hilariously enough, I am still learning, every day. But I am their mother in the most cliche, most overwhelming way. And suddenly I realize it's what I really want to be. It's finally the job that fits. The one that sticks.
I realize now that I still can be anything. Anything and everything, including their mother. Motherhood makes you believe in the impossible. If you can make it through this, you can make it through anything. Today I know that there is still time for me, no matter the dream, no matter the job. I realize that I could have been anything, but without being their mother, I would have never tried, never been as brave, never taken a chance.
I could have been anything, and now I'm this. So, wholeheartedly, this.