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Friday, May 9, 2008

Thoughts On Parenthood

Several years ago, I stumbled upon this little piece of writing, and I immediately felt as if the author had been spending a great deal of time in my heart and mind. How could someone write something so alarmingly close to my every thought? It touched my heart so deeply that day, I sat in a puddle of tears. My ability to relate to nearly every word of this exceptional piece of writing made me wonder....."Do all Parents feel like this?" and most importantly, "Does MY parents feel like this?" It is interesting to me that I continue to struggle with the idea that my parents could ever feel about me the way I feel about Sugar Bear. It worries me that Sugar will never really GET how deep my devotion is.

With Mother's Day upon us, I couldn't pass up the opportunity to share my treasure with you. I wish I knew it's origins. I did a quick Internet search, and was unable to find anything about it. If anyone has more information, please let me know. Enjoy!

Being a Mom

We are sitting at lunch one day when my daughter casually mentions that she and her husband are thinking of "starting a family." "We're taking a survey," she says half-joking. "Do you think I should have a baby?" "It will change your life," I say, carefully keeping my tone neutral. "I know," she says, "no more sleeping in on weekends, no more spontaneous vacations."

But that is not what I meant at all. I look at my daughter, trying to decide what to tell her. I want her to know what she will never learn in childbirth classes. I want to tell her that the physical wounds of child bearing will heal, but becoming a mother will leave her with an emotional wound so raw that she will forever be vulnerable. I consider warning her that she will never again read a newspaper without asking, "What if that had been MY child?" That every plane crash, every house fire will haunt her. That when she sees pictures of starving children, she will wonder if anything could be worse than watching your child die.
I look at her carefully manicured nails and stylish suit, and think that no matter how sophisticated she is, becoming a mother will reduce her to the primitive level of a bear protecting her cub. That an urgent call of "Mom!" will cause her to drop a souffle or her best crystal without a moments hesitation.

I feel that I should warn her that no matter how many years she has invested in her career, she will be professionally derailed by motherhood. She might arrange for childcare, but one day she will be going into an important business meeting and she will think of her baby's sweet smell. She will have to use every ounce of discipline to keep from running home, just to make sure her baby is all right.

I want my daughter to know that every day decisions will no longer be routine. That a five year old boy's desire to go to the men's room rather than the women's at McDonald's will become a major dilemma. That right there, in the midst of clattering trays and screaming children, issues of independence and gender identity will be weighed against the prospect that a child molester may be lurking in that restroom. However decisive she may be at the office, she will second-guess
herself constantly as a mother.

Looking at my attractive daughter, I want to assure her that eventually she will shed the pounds of pregnancy, but she will never feel the same about herself. That her life, now so important, will be of less value to her once she has a child. That she would give herself up in a moment to save her offspring, but will also begin to hope for more years, not to accomplish her own dreams, but to watch her child accomplish theirs. I want her to know that a cesarean scar or shiny stretch marks will become badges of honor.

My daughter's relationship with her husband will change and not in the way she thinks. I wish she could understand how much more you can love a man who is careful to powder the baby, or who never hesitates to play with his child. I think she should know that she will fall in love with him again for reasons she would now find very unromantic.

I wish my daughter could sense the bond she will feel with women throughout history who have tried to stop war, prejudice and drunk driving. I want to describe to my daughter the exhilaration of seeing your child learn to ride a bike. I want to capture for her the belly laugh of a baby who is touching the soft fur of a dog or cat for the first time. I want her to taste the joy that is so real it actually hurts.

My daughter's quizzical look makes me realize that tears have formed in my eyes. "You'll never regret it." I finally say. Then I reached across the table, squeezed my daughter's hand and offered a silent prayer for her, and for me, and for all the mere mortal women who stumble their way into this most wonderful of callings.

The first time I read those words, it was a few months after the devastation of Hurricane Katrina. I was immediately taken back to a moment during that horrific time when I found myself kneeling in front of my television, completely overcome with waves of uncontrollable sobbing. I kept looking at my dear Sugar Bear, and imagining being suck on a roof with her for hours and hours that ran into days and days, and having
NOTHING to feed her. NOTHING to keep her cool or warm. NOTHING. Imagining her cries of NEED, and not being able to GIVE. That ability to completely be helpless had never been so imaginable for me. I promptly began packing up nearly everything in my house that wasn't nailed down to send to someone....anyone......everyone that needed it. It was an irrational, and completely disabling moment of realization of our true vulnerability.

I can say without any hesitation that becoming a PARENT changed me more than any other event in my entire life. It opened my eyes and my heart to the common bond all humans share. My ability to empathize with another human being increased ten fold. It has, no doubt, made me a better person.

My Life is GOOD!

27 Live It or Love It:

Maude Lynn said...

Thanks so much for sharing that, Corey!

Anonymous said...

I'm sitting here trying not to bawl for fear my husband will think I'm being irrationally emotional. What beautiful words! Both hers and yours!!

Big hugs to you for sharing such a lovely post!

Mary Ann said...

That is a great story. Thanks for sharing. I can't tell you how many times a day I think of many of these things. It pains me to think my kids will never grasp how deep my love is for them. Then again, once they have children of their own maybe they will then know.

Megan Cobb said...

Man, I agree - sounds like I could have written it myself!

It's beautiful that you were inspired by your love for Sugar, though, to help others. Your reaction is so healthy and positive. I'm afraid mine tends to be more selfish and fierce!

You always teach me, my friend.

Cath said...

This has got me crying - with pure understanding, agreement, what can I say? It's all there. "What she said".
Wonderful post. Just wonderful.

You are such a good mum.

Carolyn said...

WOW. That was amazing. Just amazing. There's nothing I can say... just wonderful. You captured everything I feel and some things I didn't even realize that I feel. Brilliant Corey.

Anonymous said...

It's funny...I know I have read that before and come to think of it I believe it was when I was pregnant. It was touching then, but not in the way it is now.

I am not a panicked person by nature but since Nate was born I find myself losing it a little when I see/hear about bad things happening to children...and most especially to little boys. It just breaks my heart. I was also that women who thought only about sleeping in and having to share my husband with someone else. I didn't realize (and I don't think you can ahead of time) how it would feel to have a screaming baby stop at the drop of a hat just because I walked into a room, or how your heart breaks when you don't know why they are upset.

Thanks so much for sharing this Corey!

Autumn said...

I can't read that all the way through... last time I read it I was bawling. Thanks for sharing it Corey.

Anonymous said...

That was just beautiful Corey -- Thank you for sharing your lovely find!

kat said...

That was truly wonderful and I wish more parents were like you.

Anonymous said...

As much as I KNEW that my mother loved me more than life itself, I don't think I REALLY got it until The Bean arrived. All of the sudden, I understood how deep her love for me is. Becoming a mother definitely changes who you are. I wouldn't change it for anything.

Jules said...

Oh Corey, that totally spoke to my heart! Sometimes I feel like NO ONE loves their child quite like I love mine, that no one else can possibly feel love this deep and raw. Especially when I hear about mothers harming their own children, I am just so disgusted and hurt.

This is such a great read Corey, thank you so much for sharing!!!

♥.Trish.♥ Drumboys said...

That was beautiful and certainly tugs on the heart strings (hugs)

I have seen it by email but it still means as much and is a timely reminder.

Jo Beaufoix said...

Corey that was sooo beautiful. You're amazing. Sugarbear is a lucky girl and you're a lucky mummy. xxx

Bellevelma said...

That's a great one, Corey! And so very, very true! Happy Mother's Day!

Anonymous said...

Excellent post, Corey. I wish more mothers realized there is more to being a Mom than bearing a child.

Anonymous said...

I just knew if I came over to your page, you'd have something awesome for me to read! Thanks, Corey! Love it!

tommie said...

Thanks for sharing that! Being a mom is nothing like I thought and so much more than I expected.

Meghan said...

Corey... you really should write a book (and, of course, it should be illustrated by your gorgeous photography). I couldn't agree more about how becoming a parent changes how we see everything.

Happy Mother's Day, Corey. xo

Barbara said...

That is a great story and so true. Thanks for sharing.

holly said...

i'm going to be good now. (mainly because i can't be silly on a post like this.) excellent post, my sweet.

i think you're wrong though - i think sugar *will* get how deep your devotion is. she'll get it. it may be later. but she'll get it.


Donetta said...

Yes Corey...Our live are so very good.

Hilary said...

Great post of the day, for sure.

Found you through David.. :)

Jennifer Powell said...

Thanks for sharing Corey. Amazing and so difficult to describe this experience of being a Mom. One thing is clear, we will never be the same and that is a good thing.

Autumn said...

You Rock.. sight of the day on Davids blog. YAY!
I also wanted to make another comment, I can so relate to the thinking of "I can't imagine my parent feeling this way about me"
My dad isn't one to wear his feelings on his sleeve. I knew he loved me but I couldn't imagine it was the depth of emotion that I feel for my son. The day my stepmom died my dad was very concerned for her mother. She lives alone a long way from her other children. He wanted someone to go to her house so that she wasn't alone when someone told her that her youngest child had died. My dad said to me in the middle of his own excruciating grief of losing his wife "I just don't want her to be alone, nothing can be more painful than losing a child" I knew at that moment, that my dad feels for me the same way that I feel for my son.
My difference is that I wear that feeling on my sleeve for everyone to see and my dad holds it inside his heart.
Sugar will know how much you love her because you wear it on your sleeve.

Jenera said...

My mom sent this to me in an email one time-though I don't know where she found it.

I'm a relatively new mother but having my son changed how I look at my own mother. I now know a completely different level of love and need to protect this little human being.

CMB said...

I have read that before, but yet I am still a bundle of tears. How very true those words are. Every single one. Even the beautiful part at the end about the husband. My friend and I were discussing something similar the other day. There really is nothing like watching Steve with the kids. So hot!
Thanks for the reminder.

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