Happy Mother's Day to all the mothers out there and to my mother, especially and to the women who have been in my life and mentored me in a motherly way. Thank you!
Thirteen years ago today I was in labor for the very first time. It was May 10, 1996 and I was living in the Greenwood neighborhood with Erik, was 21 years old and had really no real idea how my life was about to change in the coming hours. How suddenly my life's purpose was no longer about me but about ensuring the health and safety and thriving of my child. I was too young and inexperienced in the game of life to be scared, but I should have been.
My daughter, Natalie Erin, was born on Saturday, May 11, 1996 at 2:48am. 7lbs15oz, practically perfect in every way. Not a flaw on her. Again, I was too young and too inexperienced to know just how lucky I was in that moment and just how many women in this world would have given their right arm to be me...to be holding that perfect child in their arms.
That was the day that I become a mom. That was the day that my life changed forever. I knew this, but I did not know exactly how. Natalie's dad and I did not last, no surprise, and I spent several years as a single mom with Natalie. Those were some fun years and I could blog on and on about our time together, just the two of us. We kind of grew up together, in many ways. I still felt like a kid myself, but at the same time I was living a life that other women my age were not and so, most of my friends were much older than me. Looking at it now, it is easy to see how those friends were brought into my life to mentor me, to teach me and to lead me. And they're not even all mothers themselves - but wonderful friends and mentors, they are! I specifically want to mention: Jeri, Maureen, Ren and Colleen. I would say Erica too, but we were both the "students". The young single moms with our little girls just trying to figure out life!
Jeri and Maureen always called Natalie an "old soul" and I do believe she is. She has always had this wisdom about her that is so beyond her years it is almost scary. Being her mother has taught me much about life and has changed me in ways I never would have imagined. Not all parents can say that they "like" their kids. I mean, let's face it, junior high kids are not the easiest to deal with. I can tell you with great pride, I like my kid. I like who she is, I like listening to her tell stories, I like knowing that when she steps out into the world without me I am already proud because I know that she is good. She is polite, she has manners, she is sensitive and caring. And she is absolutely beautiful on the inside and out. Every day I am grateful for how this child has changed me into who I am today and I thank God for choosing me to be her mother.