It’s taking me a long time to become Mommy.
When I held my daughter for the first time that January day, I didn’t feel that overwhelming sense of adoration that people always talk about. I felt tired, and holding her on the outside felt foreign.
In fact, of all the experiences in my life that becoming a parent could have been like, it felt the most like culture shock. I wanted to love it, and instead all I could think of were the ways that things were different, the things I had lost that I didn’t know I would lose.
Learning to love my role as mother has, and still does, involve quite a bit of grieving. I’m one who values unstructured time alone, and the more of it, the better. I love my kids but I miss that time. I grieve the loss of that time.
Grief, I find, doesn’t mean that I haven’t gained. Would I trade my littles for all the time I’ll miss over the years that they’re growing up? Never.
But I still miss it. I miss the books unread and the thoughts unthought and the words unwritten. I miss the connections I can’t make and the people I haven’t been able to walk alongside because I’m companioning my children instead.
And the missing is ok. The missing is natural, is life, and if I don’t welcome the missing and love myself as I miss, I will be even more unhappy. In fact, I’ll be beyond unhappy – I’ll be bitter and I may even come to resent my kids and what I don’t have because I have them.
So I grieve. I love myself when I let myself think I’d the time I once had and how I love the things I got to do with it. I don’t try to get it back and I don’t try to pine after those things, but I let myself hold them and the missing of them and I’m a better mother for it.