In light of Mother’s Day this past Sunday and my son’s first birthday (!) this Sunday I have been doing quite a bit of thinking about being a mama to this little boy. First I must say being a mother is the most intense, hardest thing I have ever done. If you know me, you know I’ve done a lot of intense, hard things in my life so I don’t just throw that statement out there flippantly. BUT, I wouldn’t trade being Esteban’s mama for anything. You hear so much of that gushy stuff from mothers – It’s the best job, their children are the best thing that happened to them, and they love, love being a mother. The truth is all of that is so true, but it actually holds such a deeper meaning, one that is difficult to put into words.
Reflecting on the past year of being a mother, there were a lot of surprises along the way. I thought I’d share a few with you all.
A few things I have been surprised by –
- How selfish I am! Whew, I am reminded so often how often my actions and wants are fueled by ME. Having a baby shines a giant spotlight into that area in my life. It’s almost like I had to break up with myself when Esteban was born. All the things I used to love that I needed to give up was daunting and a bit disorienting. You’re in this intense spot of life giving everything you have – energy, time, sleep, food – for this little one and most of the things I had prior to help with intense periods I couldn’t do/use/have. I couldn’t stop what I was doing when it felt like too much and just go read a book or watch tv or eat some chocolate. I couldn’t even really drink coffee to fuel my exhaustion.
- Being this raw, intense space though taught (and still teaches) me so much about myself and pushed me to God in a way I had never experienced before. I remember shortly after Esteban was born a friend asked me what I had been studying in my quiet time and what I had been learning. I paused, trying to rifle through my fuzzy brain to even recall when I last sat and read the Bible, journaled, and prayed. All of that felt so long ago. I felt guilty I hadn’t done any of that in weeks. Then I realized how much my heart had been in this constant state of depending on God – for wisdom with Esteban, for strength when little man woke up 2 minutes after I fell asleep, etc. No I hadn’t had a “devotional time” in weeks, but I had been learning and growing in huge ways.
- How quickly time goes by each day. I look at the clock thinking it’s somewhere around 2 and Suddenly it’s 5!
- How much I enjoy doing things for Esteban – whether is making his baby food, reading him books, or planning little outings for us. Thinking through what to incorporate into his days is so fun for me.
- How people focus on your baby instead of you. As soon as Esteban was born everyone’s focus was on him. This I understood, little babes are cute and new and so very special. But this continued, friends didn’t introduce me to others as they used to. No longer was I Liz Diaz, works at a non-profit health center and mentors girls, likes to read, etc. I was introduced as Liz Diaz, she is a mom. This was a hard adjustment, because I love being a mom (see point above this one), so I felt guilty for not liking that kind of introduction but I also felt so unseen. I’m still that person I used to be, I just am also a mom now.
- My mama bear side. I am a pretty non-confrontational person; I’m introverted and generally can go with the flow on most things. Unless, apparently, it threatens my son in any way, shape or form. There have been a few times when my son’s safety was threatened and my mama bear side roared to life without me realizing it. I am direct, firm, and sometimes use a few choice words if necessary. Always after the fact I am surprised not by my boldness abut how normal it seems to have that side of me.
- How mind-blowing it is to watch a little one develop. It’s no wonder every parent thinks their child is a genius. To watch this tiny, flailing newborn grow into a little boy in just a year is amazing. Every new thing Esteban does I am so excited about. I call Epi to share in full detail what new thing Esteban did and we both are thrilled. Later I realize that skill, while very impressive, is also right on course with what he’s supposed to be doing at that age. So amazing yes. Genius? Probably not.
- How terrifying it is to have someone’s life depend on you. The first two weeks of Esteban’s life, I though every morning, “we did it. We kept him alive another day!” Even now, I still pause and think about the weight of all the responsibility we have been given to care for this little one’s heart, mind, body, and soul. What a terrifying gift!
What a year it has been with this little guy of ours. I’m so excited to celebrate him on Sunday and see the next year unfold.