|A Recent Photo of Miss Busy and I|
There is a lot to be said for the stages of a woman's life. Unfortunately, in our society the Maiden stage is idolized and moving on to the more mature and productive stages life is often feared or shunned. Oh, being a Maiden is beautiful! I love to hear the joy and optimism in my young Maiden's voice, but I also have no desire to be fourteen again. A Maiden has troves of wonder and untouched beauty, but she also has a lot of learning to do and much of it will be painful.
As a Mother, I feel I have come into my own. I am currently carrying my sixth child and find myself to be more beautiful and confident than ever. When I hold one of my children some of whom are now bigger than I am, I see how powerful and yet how small I can be at the same time. I am the one who will provide the love that they need to grow and meet their potential, I am the measure by which they will gauge good and bad, and I am the one who's strength they will draw on. Yet, with in all that power, I will still be unable to give them a perfect life and I am far from capable of being the perfect Mama I feel they deserve. In my children I find both my honor and my humility.
As a Mother, I have learned that my body is amazing. Before having babies, I had a body I was very proud of. I was tall and lean, nothing except legs and boobs. I never felt very beautiful, but I loved my figure. When things didn't bounce right back after my first child, I felt somewhat like a failure and worked hard to get my shape back, but the babies just kept coming. Then about the time my oldest was four he asked me, "Mama, why is your tummy so ugly." I told him that the saggy skin and stretch marks were just the natural results of having children and he started to cry. As he clung to me and apologized with his little heart absolutely broken over the damage he had done, I suddenly knew it didn't matter one bit. I told him that he and his siblings were worth every single stretch mark and I would not trade even a moment with one for them for my pretty tummy back. That was the day I begin to make friends with my body. Sometimes I still have a moment of insecurity, but then I remember that creating life is no easy task. My body has worked hard and never failed to nurture and protect those I love the most. My figure isn't perfect, but my body is.
As a Mother, I learned to pick my battles. My children are not here to be little reflections of me, make me look good, or to define my success as a human being. My children are here to grow and learn and become the individuals they are meant to be. It is very easy for many parents to view their offspring as little accessories and want to position them in whatever manner they will be the most flattering. Sorry, but being a parent is not flattering. It is often tiring and messy, but so very rewarding. As long as my children are not behaving in a harmful way or being immoral, I see no reason to control their choices. So what if Sassafras prefers camo to lace or Mr. Man chooses to wear long johns under swimming trunks to kindergarten? They might not be following the status quo, but they are following their hearts. By respecting them as individuals, I keep their hearts and minds open to my influence in the areas that really matter.
I guess, over all it just boils down to...I love being a Mama. Yet, as much as I love being the center of my children's world, I know the day is coming when they will move on. G.I Joe keeps reminding me that he will be enlisted in a scant two years. Then I will move on. I will be the grandmother, the wise one, the crone. It is a phase of life, I look forward to. All in due time.