I never thought I wanted to be a mother. I can remember being in Young Women's and listening to the lessons about motherhood, womanhood and the eternal plan for women related to the bearing and rearing of children. I thought to myself, "That might be okay for someone without ambition- someone who doesn't have talent, drive, intellect, creativity. Someone NOT like me. I want to be something special- do something different. Something great." I can remember the interior rolling of my eyes whenever there was a lesson about how wonderful it is for women to be mothers. Give me a break, I thought. Women can be so many BETTER things than mothers! And I left it at that. Because, I thought, who in their right mind would EVER want to be a mother??!
When I went to college I told myself I would not be one of "those mormons", who get married young, have kids right away and throw away their life before it has even begun. I knew and saw plenty of girls meet, love and marry a guy within 2 months! That was ridiculous to me. Didn't they know there were so many other fish in the sea? "I won't get married until I am DONE with my bachelor's degree and maybe even my master's degree- and when I DO, we'll wait to have (2) kids until we have a house, and our jobs on track and THEN it will be the right time." I thought that. And I honestly thought I would only want 2 kids. One boy. One girl. Finite.
Maybe I wanted my life to go like this because of my mother and my mom. My mother did get married young, had a child pretty quick and after a series of choices, she and my father divorced. My Mom did the same thing- and then married my father. I come from a perfectly blended family. I didn't want to make the same "mistakes" that my Mother and Mom did- if you could call children mistakes. I don't think I can.
When my husband and I first found out we were pregnant, I was devastated. Seriously. I couldn't talk about it for a few months. We told no one because it was such a heart-break for me- I had let myself down, all my convictions from my childhood through marriage were shattered by that little wand. After all, HOW would I accomplish all the things I felt I needed to do if I also had a child to care for?!
And then, James blessed my life forever.
I'll never forget that crashing-wave, pounding-surf feeling of love that swept from me my ignorance when the brand-new little soul-in-the-flesh was placed in my arms. Granted, I was pretty groggy from the nausea medicine- but the memory is clear and steady. All of the sudden, I knew what true love was. I was holding it. My very own little bundle of glory. How sweet, soft, delicate. And mine.
It has taken a lot to come to the realization that I was profoundly incorrect about motherhood. And I have to say, the overly-emotive misty-eyed oh-how-I-love-being-a-mother-in-zion approach didn't work for me and I'm pretty sure it won't work for other young women who are like I was. Motherhood has taken me on the most terrifying, heartbreaking, triumphant, joyous, and exhausting roller coaster I've ever been on.
James has been my eye-opener to how important a mother really is- and what skill set a mother really needs (and maybe what is NOT essential for motherhood).
I am the mother of a little boy with Asperger's Syndrome. This has been and will continue to be the great trial, training ground and joy of my life. It is the most difficult thing I have done- but the rewards are... well, they just sparkle. This job has taken me to my lowest lows and my highest highs. Lowest low: James' seizure and the limp little body in my arms after his body stopped seizing, thinking Oh my God, please don't let my little one die. Please not him. Breathe, baby- please breathe. Highest high: hearing my son call me Mama- what a treasure and one I had to wait for, for more than two and a half years.
When I was pregnant with him I had this feeling about him- like he would be my angel boy. That's the exact wording I felt when I would think of him- Angel Boy. And he is. James is kind, sweet, innocent, like heaven in a little body-bottle. He even looks like one to me. A friend to everyone, won't kill a bug (no kidding! He'll call me to see bugs, but won't lift a finger against one), dedicated to whatever he is doing at the moment, and sings Primary songs in Home Depot telling all the people in the garden center to Follow The Prophet.
My skill set has improved dramatically with this delightful child. I used to be impatient. Now, I cannot be. I used to be fast and busy and on the go-go-GO! I can't do that with James- he needs time and space. I used to be the most ill-organized person on the face of the planet. No longer! I have the week planned out in advance with meals, workout times, what we're doing at what time on what day. My grocery list is organized by aisle for heaven's sake. I have learned what the most important parts of first aid are, how to make something for lunch from saltines, peanut butter and marshmallows, and what to do to make my boy REALLY happy. Time together matters always. What you do is not as important so long as you do it together with a good attitude. My attitude sets the example for him- if I am happy and together, he is too. Sewing has become something I do for fun- and a little money. Working in the garden together is the most fun we can have outside. We love to play "horse" and "dragons", trains, cars- really anything that has wheels and "goes".
Motherhood demands someone who has ambition, talent, intellect, creativity and perseverance. It requires high aptitude in every area of self-control and selfless service. You have to be on top of your game at all hours- even while sleeping. Who works 24-7 for real? Moms. It is the most difficult job- and contribution to society in general- one can have. No one would be able to afford us if motherhood was a paying gig. In money, I mean.
I know this is really long, somewhat rambling and disjointed. But my James is special in a way not many are. Which means I need to be a better mother for him.