I've wanted to be a mother since I myself was a baby. I would cuddle and snuggle my younger sister, who wanted little to do with my babying her. "It's okay, baby," I would coo, blissfully unaware of her desperation to wriggle out of my arms and head for the hills. Naturally, my love for children led me to a Master's degree in Teaching and taking on a room of 6/7 year olds every day for seven years. Shortly after I turned 28 my husband and I decided we were ready to start our family. Luckily our daughter was ready for us too; she arrived in the fall of 2016, about nine months later. I will never forget the pure joy and love I felt looking down at her for the first time. She looked up at us, her eyes full of wonder, all five pounds one ounce of her. I remember feeling the teensy puzzle pieces of her spine and thinking how tiny and fragile she was. In that instant, I realized the true meaning of "wearing your heart on your sleeve." I had known this little human for less than five minutes and I knew there wasn't anything I wouldn't do for her. It's a feeling that you hear about and read about, but never quite understand until you yourself go through it. My husband and I consider ourselves extraordinarily lucky to not only have found our soulmate in each other, but to share that love with our daughter and, hopefully, more children to come.
In 2017 I decided it was time to take a break from teaching to be home with my daughter. During the early days of motherhood I envisioned us strolling through Central Park together in matching outfits, licking mint chocolate chip ice cream from the same cone, singing songs, and skipping together. I now realize I was replaying Mary Poppins in my head. While we do, in fact, do many of those things, they certainly are not picture perfect or accompanied by a song. Our walks in Central Park are often sprinkled with ear-splitting tantrums over a bird flying away, or my insistence on wearing a hat in 20 degree weather. Singing songs is usually something we do to stop the tantrum. At 15 months old my daughter is still not walking, so there's definitely no skipping. There is an abundance of good, however, that comes from all the ups and downs. During our down moments, I recognize who I truly am as a parent. I am loving, but strict. I have rules, but am flexible. Beyond anything else, I love my daughter. The way she melts into my arms and squeezes onto me after a tantrum dissolves any of the frustration I was feeling just a moment prior. The hugs and kisses and "love you mama"s always outweigh the screams and cries and embarrassing moments in the grocery stores.
Parenting is no easy task. My mom always said it was the hardest and best job out there. I now understand what she meant. Writing about it began as an outlet, and turned into a profession. As they say, if you love what you do you never work a day in your life. I'm lucky enough to have experienced that twice: first through teaching, and now as a writer.