...to the most rigorous training program known to man.
It wasn't on a whim. It was something that I wanted with my whole soul. I had felt the heartache and tears of applying and being denied. I waited longingly for that acceptance letter! I was thrilled about my new future and more than willing to commit to a life-long program.
I felt confident, scared, excited, and complete.
I was determined to do it all right. To master this role.
My heart was filled to the brim with love for my new baby...that cute little bundle reaffirmed that this was my mission. I loved her. I loved how she changed our family. I loved being her mom.
But, despite buckets full of love in my heart, I was shocked at how often I felt a little lost in my new role. I was surprised at how unfulfilling the hard days and weeks were. At how quickly I stopped noticing the good moments and couldn't forget all the hard moments. At how foggy my brain became without enough sleep! I wondered what I had gotten into.
But we bumbled along...sometimes enjoying the ride...sometimes surviving. I remembered that this wasn't a course I could quit. Which was good--because some days I would have handed in my notice and missed the amazing journey of growth that I am still on!
Since then we've signed on to more complex training programs...adding more babies one by one. It's been an intense and satisfying journey.
When baby #4 was born I was stretched to my limits for a little while. I wasn't sure if I was going to make it! But, sure enough, after some time, my role started coming back into focus. I think I truly started to understand some of the most important truths about motherhood for the very first time! I'm sure some mother's are a little quicker. I'm pretty stubborn and determined. So it took 4 kids and 9 years before I stopped just plowing ahead--determined to succeed!
The first and most important realization that I accepted was this:
I thought I was there to love, mold, shape and train my children. I knew I wasn't perfect, but I thought that my adult status made me completed. As my true role as a mother started to come into a crisp focus, I finally started to "get" the fact that while this was about assisting my little ones in their own journey, this was one amazing opportunity for me to be loved, as I was molded, shaped and trained.
There are so many ways for us to experience life. We can seize countless opportunities that will challenge us and help us to develop and internalize characteristics and skills that improve us as human beings. We all have so many ways we can grow, improve, expand, and become more balanced people.
My choice was to experience my life through motherhood.
I'm not sure if I'm a slow learner compared to others on this journey, but I am happy to say that I am finally at the beginning of that course that I started on many years ago. Because I am finally here as a student. I am ready to learn. To seek out and master new skills and learn new tools.
I believe that I have a spiritual inner compass that helps guide me as a mother. I believe in prayer. I believe in miracles. But I also believe that it is my job to fully immerse in my new-found student status. I am hungry for knowledge and skills. Sometimes my resources are "experts". Sometimes I reference friends. Often my husband and I have brainstorming sessions that give me enough material to practice and tweak for a month!
My goal is to take on the attitude of a student--which is harder said than done in mothering. I am trying to look at what I need to change about me and my reactions before I assume it's my kid that is a lost cause! I have learned that as I learn new skills and find tools, I am a more effective mom. If I mess up (which I do often) I am trying to adopt the attitude of a scientist instead of a highly emotional woman! I want to step back and say "Huh! That didn't work--what could I do differently next time?" I search for tools to help me with my weaknesses. I am a project that I am fine tuning.
I loved this quote that I stumbled on...
I have learned that family is a powerful laboratory. They love me even when I fail. They make me laugh even when I'm at my wits end. They help me remember to enjoy the process instead of wishing it were all over.
This isn't a course that I'm taking just for the diploma at the end. It's the way I've chosen to experience my life. I've finally learned that "doing it right" and "mastering this role" isn't about perfection in the moment. It's about letting myself be changed through the process so that I have no regrets about my schooling.