Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Peaceful Forest

Grace #20: Trees

Easter weekend my family and I went to North Carolina to visit my mother-in-law. Like me, she loves the outdoors, so we spent a lot of time outside. One of the outings we went on was to a local park. She had heard that there is a stand of "virgin beeches"-- beech trees that are over 100 years old--there. So we hiked several miles, and finally found the trees. They were huge and beautiful. It was a new experience for me to be among so many old trees, and it was a wonderful one. The Celestine Prophecy talks about how trees vibrate with energy...with life. I definitely felt this energy, this life coming from those trees and it was incredible!

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Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Happy Anniversary to Me!

Grace #19: Motherhood

Ten years ago today I became a mother. I can't get over the fact that I have been a mom for a decade now. In some ways, it seems like my son was just a baby yesterday, then I he is ten. Most of the time I can't even remember what it was like to not have kids. I know most parents probably feel this way, but it is just so incredible to me how quickly time has gone by.

Nothing in my life has changed me more than motherhood. Yes, at the core I am the same me I have always been, but I am
so different, too. Until I became a mom I had no idea how selfless I could be...and be okay with it! I had no idea how little sleep I could "get by" on. I thought all-nighters in college were tough. That was nothing compared to dealing with a high-needs baby in the middle of the night who is teething and has a stuffy nose...all while visiting relatives. I had no clue what it was like to have another human being with me (and usually physically attached to me) 24/7 for days, months, years on end, AND that I would be mostly alright with it. I learned how amazingly patient, AND inpatient I am capable of being. My marriage evolved as well. Parenting together has been one of the most rewarding and challenging aspects of my marriage. The love between my husband and me is so much deeper since we became parents. Additionally, since becoming a mother, I have made some of the most incredible friends, and the friendships I had before were enriched due to our shared experiences as moms. I also became an octopus when I became a mom! I am impressed by the number of things that I could do all at one time, all while holding a child. I became physically stronger.

The physical strength I gained was just the beginning. The emotional and spiritual strength I have developed still amazes me. My pregnancies and natural births taught me about the awesome inner strength I possess. They also empowered me to begin the hard work of motherhood. In addition to pregnancy and birth, nursing my children was one of the best experiences of my life. It taught me so much about myself and my kids. I learned from all the wonderful, peaceful moments of nursing, as well as all the rough times such as sore nipples and mastitis. All these experience allowed me to develop the tenacity that a mother needs to forcefully advocate for her children, her family--and herself--when necessary.

As I sit here typing this, I am aware that there are so many more ways that I have grown as a person, more ways than I can even put words to.

I am also specifically grateful to my son, my firstborn. I was so naive when he was born, still so self-centered. That all changed as fast as the speed of light with his birth. He was a high-needs baby, a baby who would never accept anything less than my very best. There was no easing into motherhood with this kid! It was a baptism by fire. He NEEDED my full and alert and loving attention almost all the time. As he grew, I realized that I had been blessed with an amazing and spirited child. He is a child who always requires me to rise to the next and higher level of mothering. It is exhausting at times to mother a spirited child, but the rewards I have gained are priceless.

So mazel tov to me...and mazel tov to my children, to all my mom friends, and their children! We are all better off because of each other. Here's to the next ten years!

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