Being a Mom is everything I dreamed it would be and many things I didn’t expect. There were new feelings I couldn’t know I would feel. I realize that sounds like a bag of mixed feelings but let me explain. Before having babies, I knew I would love them, think they were the best and want the whole world for them. But then I actually had my kids and I loved them more intensely than I was prepared for, thought they were the best of all children and wanted the whole world for them but not all the worries in it.

Nobody told me that being a parent would also mean also being perpetually worried. When I was pregnant, I was worried about miscarriage and if the my pregnancy would end in a healthy baby. After each of my boys was born, it continued. Were they growing enough, eating enough, sleeping enough? As they’ve grown into bigger kids, my worry has shifted to questions like… do they feel loved? Do they have a sense of belonging? And also, do they eat enough, sleep enough? I feel like these are the universal questions of mothers everywhere.

Like any new and challenging thing, it’s hard at first and then we adjust. And I did! I figured out how to keep babies alive and get out of the house, get a full night of sleep and finally, potty train little people and finally, send them to school! Now wasn’t that day a miraculous one!!! It was equal parts happy and sad but also, necessary!

I’ve been a mom for 12 years and as I reflected on my kids and how far we’ve come together this past Mother’s Day, I wrote about how I feel about each of them at this stage in their lives…

Hudson constantly fills me with wonder with who he’s becoming. You know when your kids are little that they will eventually grow up but it does feel very far away and possibly theoretical. Those younger years are so long and very tired. So to see him actually growing up, almost taller than the body that grew him… it fills me with a sense of pride and also surprise. It’s actually happening! He’s becoming! He’s unfolding and unfurling. Like a flower in the spring, you plant the seed, you watch it grow and the flower bud develops and you know it’s going to be a rose or a begonia or a lilac. You even know the color or its anticipated scent. But when it actually begins to become that flower, it’s so fascinating and beautiful you can’t look away. How did that little seed become this glorious once in a lifetime expression? That’s how I feel about Hudson. I know him well and I’ve had an idea of what kind of big kid and even young adult he might grow up to be for sometime now but it’s so cool to watch him become. I find myself watching him in wonder. He says I’m being creepy and weird. I just laugh. I’m just so proud of him.

My feelings around Owen are entirely different because he’s my 2nd child but also my last child. He’s my baby. His beginnings were tumultuous and a little scary. There was a time in my life that I was afraid maybe we’d lose him. And even though he’s now so big, vibrant and energetic, that fear still lingers in the corners. But the corners get smaller the older he gets and it feels like a relief. Because I know from my bigger boy that these younger years are fleeting, I find myself savoring Owen’s 8 year old self in a way I didn’t with his brother. He’s still snuggly and wants long tuck ins at bedtime. He wants stories and more stories. And sometimes he wants us to stay with him until he’s asleep. When he asks, I usually say yes. Because I know there will come a day when he doesn’t want me to stay anymore. I want him to grow up because that’s what kids should do but I also want him to take his sweet time. There’s no rush. It’ll happen when it’s time. For now, maybe we should read another book together, while I try not to be distracted by his little nose or the freckles the sun kissed him with.

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Wherever you are in your mom journey, take a moment to be proud of yourself. The love you feel, the responsibility and the stress, the joy and the heart bursting moments, the tears… you can’t pick and choose what it will be on any given day but it’s all motherhood and you’re doing it. And that is more than enough.

xo Bonnie