Last Sunday, many people did various things to honor and celebrate their mothers and other maternal figures in their lives.
You name it.
In the years past, my husband, Teddy, and I would enjoy a brunch on a cruise along the Potomac River on Mother's Day.
This year, we decided to do things a bit differently.
We took a weekend trip to Shenandoah National Park to just get away from the craziness that is Washington, D.C. for a bit. On a whim, we also visited the arboretum near James Madison University. The ducks, turtles, flowers, koi, and other fish were a hit with Teddy! We even saw a small garter snake that rushed across the chipped wood pathway and hid among the bushes.
One of our friends, who lost her son a few years ago just hours after birth, joined us on the trip as well.
My thoughts continually drifted back to her as I hugged my son who would have been roughly the same age as her son would have been. Nothing is to be taken for granted. I also thought about my friends who are either expecting or already had their second child. In fact, one of my friends is giving birth to her third child as I write this.
I also thought about my other friends who are open about not wanting a child at all.
The truth be told, I never thought I would be a mother. I had always envisioned myself as a career woman before anything else. Also, I valued my independence and personal time. And still do. By nature, I am a planner and had my entire live planned out. So I thought. There is a Yiddish saying: "Der mentsh trakht un Got lakht." Or, "Man plans, God laughs," in English.
My sister was always the more nuturing one. Children-especially young children-naturally gravitated towards her and loved her. And my sister was, and still is, absolutely awesome with them. She now has one of her own. And I am proud to call myself an aunt.
I always found it easier to connect with teenagers and older children. Now, the awkward woman around young children. That person was me.
Don't get me wrong. I love children. And most people that I admired were either mothers or maternal figures who always put others before themselves. In fact, my closest friend is a stay at home mother with three children.
But... I have never felt a strong urge to have children of my own nor a big family. Maybe I will be a late bloomer in that sense. Who knows?
I also believe that there are some people out there who should never have children in the first place.
When some of my friends decided that a child wasn't right for them, I admired them for being forthcoming.
Let's just face it. Children requires a lot of work, attention, and is not compatible with every lifestyle.
But there are also rewards.
I felt woefully unprepared when I found out I was pregnant with Teddy just over four months after getting my undergraduate degree. My world as I knew it at the time was turned upside down.
Fast forward four years later, I couldn't have imagined my life to be any different. While some things didn't come naturally to me at first, motherhood definitely made me a better person.
Before Teddy, everything had to be perfect. Post-Teddy, I learned to let go a little bit and accept some things as they are. Admittedly, it is still an ongoing exercise in letting go for me.
Now that Teddy will be turning five years old this summer, some people asked me when we were going to have a second child. While there are different perspectives regarding how far apart children should be spaced, these same people suggest that the magic number was somewhere between two years and four years. My sister and I are five years apart. There definitely are some upsides and downsides associated with that. I realize that.
There are some days where having a second child is appealing. But I want to be sure that I want a second child because of right reasons and my husband is onboard as well. Some of it is also the timing since I am still building my career.
Only time will tell.
And to be honest with you, I love being able to spend all of my "free" time with my son. He is turning out to be such a cool dude! And such a personality!
Thank you, Teddy, for being who you are. I am proud to call myself your mommy. I love you!