I know it sounds a little trite, but I wanted to be a mother for as long as I can remember. I mean, most mothers I know say that. Only a few say, “I soooooo didn’t want to be a mother – yet, here I am.” Or at least they don’t say it out loud. I am not sure if it is that we are genetically predisposed to desire to be mothers, or if we feel some sort of societal pressure to fulfill our “womanly duty of motherhood.” Who knows. All I know is that I felt the “call” to be a mother long before I was one.
When I was 19, I got engaged to my college “sweetheart.” Why so young? Because I felt I was on some kind of schedule. Engaged at 19. Married at 21. First child at 23. Second at 25. Done. I even had a name picked out for my first child – which of course would be a daughter. And yes, The Girl Monkey does have part of the name. She is named for my grandmothers…
Needless to say, I did not marry that fiancé. Nor did the next engagement, at 22, end in marriage. Still no Baby Daddy…
I was officially off my motherhood schedule.
But, I still wanted to be a mother. More than anything. It became obvious to me that being a mother was more important to me than the whole being married part. In 1990, the ABC-TV news show, 20/20 broke the story of the atrocious conditions in Romanian orphanages. Of the vast number of children. Of children who were severely malnourished. Of children who never received physical contact. I cried as I watched it. And then I thought, “That’s it! I will go rescue myself a Romanian baby girl!” (Like it was going to be that easy. How delusional was I?) I started saving money and was even buying cute little girl dresses. This was it! The perfect plan! Never mind I was in graduate school and only working part-time and was single and lived with my mother. What in the hell was I thinking?!?!
You guessed it. I do not have a 24 year-old Romanian daughter. Sanity kicked in.
I did not become a mother for the first time until I was 33. A full decade off my original “schedule.” (The Middle Monkey was born when I was 35 and The Girl Child, 5 days after my 38th birthday) But, in retrospect that was ever so much better than having a child in my 20s. I wasn’t ready. Not one bit.
Not that being a mother is everything I thought it would be. I really do think my naïve 20 year-old self thought it would be all hearts and flowers and cuddles and kisses and cute dresses and joy and laughter. And the reality of motherhood – especially with mine – is that there are times when I want to lock them outside to be raised by the wolves. Or the gypsies. Or the mean guy who lives across the street. Who cares who takes them just so long as it isn’t me. The crew I was given is a difficult bunch. Which really is an understatement. For reals. Screaming and yelling are far more frequent than hearts and flowers. They say that God only gives you what you can handle. Well, I firmly believe God has far more confidence in me than He should. Seriously. But I guess that is why God created alcohol. (As I am typing this, I am hearing screeches wafting up the stairs. Middle Monkey saw a bug. *sigh*)
Yet, for all the screaming and stomping and slamming (oh, my!), I wouldn’t trade The Monkeys for another batch. Not even the newest model. Fresh off the factory floor. I love them with all my heart and soul and mind and body and strength and weakness – in spite of their “faults.” (And yes, my children do have FAULTS. I am not one of those deluded mothers that sees no fault in their children. Mine have big ones. Bless their little hearts.)
They are trying.
They are pains.
They are amazing.
And I am ever so happy they are mine. All mine.
Jealous? You should be.