I think back to my youth, and I think of all the poor decisions I made. Reflecting on that time, I recall a young woman that was desperately seeking approval and acceptance. Growing up is really, really hard, and we learn really painful lessons that we carry like dead weight in to our adulthood. No one really told me that decisions I made back then would be carried with me like dead weight on my shoulders. There are days I’m trudging through the world with an extra 50 lbs of baggage upon my shoulders. I don’t believe in the whole adage when people say “I don’t regret anything I’ve done.” In fact I regret a lot of the things I did in my youth, and if I could go back in time, there are so many things I would do over.
Growing up I think about the items I placed the most value on, and I look at what has changed since becoming a mother. Prior to having my son, I was very much in to having the nicest things. It made me feel valuable to be driving a nice car, have a nice home and fill it with nice things. I found myself attaching my happiness to these things, and would slowly build an ego that was full of itself and ugly. I worried needlessly about what I weighed, and there were days that it would be so obsessive I would weigh myself multiple times per day. Looking back at this, what I see is a deeply insecure young girl that lacked the self esteem to know that self worth was not found in things or size, but found in the content of your heart and how you carry yourself. There was a deep emptiness in me that no car, item of clothing or perfect weight could give to me. I was lonely for so many reasons.
Then I became a mother. The world exploded before my eyes, and I realized that spit up all over my face and hair was more valuable than an expensive car. Everyone said that I would never sleep again, and in the early days that was very true. It is amazing how your body can adjust to only sleeping 3-4 hours at a time and still function without falling all over yourself. I for sure put milk in the cupboards and cereal in the fridge. There were definitely days I would run to the grocery store, only to get there and forget every single item I needed. In the mornings as I prepared for work, I would often need toothpicks to keep my eyes open, and a IV of coffee straight to the veins would have been a great investment.
I was dead tired, this was absolutely true. However, it was the most alive I had ever felt as a person. There was a tiny person relying on me for every single thing, and it would cry only for me. It was the biggest self esteem boost I ever received, and I finally realized that my purpose had lead up to this moment. I was suppose to be Von’s mom. It hasn’t been without challenges, but I would not change any of this for the world. All the nights in the hospital, up late due to hypoglycemia or an upset stomach and giggles and cuddles have been worth it.
No longer do I find myself worried solely on my appearance, status, bank account or what I have. In fact, I would give all it away for Von. If I had to live in a paper box, to keep my child safe I would do it. I would walk away from everything and everyone for him. There is nothing I wouldn’t do for him, and I’m certain that any parent feels the same for their child. Not only did mothering give me a sense of purpose, it also made me realize how much greater the world is than just me. It restored my faith in God. I realized that in order to be a better person, I needed to be doing better things. It was time to let go of my selfish ways and to become selfless in my drive and motivation. My son deserved to know about God, learn about him and love him just as much as I do. By the time he was 2, I was searching for a church that he could grow up in. My desire to restore my faith and provide him a faith as well, changed my perspective and motivations immensely.
I don’t know that if I would have been a parent, if I would have found my way back to God. Seeing the miracles he has worked in my child, makes me certain he exists. There is nothing more powerful in this life than to know you are loved and not alone. I am grateful daily that I have changed. It was important for me to let go of the superficial and to connect to what truly mattered. Becoming a parent has forced me to see life for what it is. Life is a beautiful, messy, dirty, fun, agonizing, and imperfect journey that we take from the day we are born. There are many distractions around us telling us what is important. However, what is really important is that you are loved and that you love. There is nothing more beautiful than that, and how you loved will be how you are remembered. I’m so grateful to have become a mother, and so humbled that I now know what it truly means to live.