By: Jana Greene
To my daughters:
Thank you for making me a mom – it’s been my greatest and most challenging role.
When each of you were first born, you wouldn’t cry on your own. Because of my condition, your births were unsafely fast. Neonatal doctors were called in to resuscitate you, and it was then I had my first taste of sheer terror and first fervent Mama prayer.
Your cries were the sweetest sound.
When you were babies, I nursed you for what may be considered a “long” time, and I wore you in baby slings all the time.
We co-slept because it felt natural – it WAS natural – and I didn’t take one second for granted. “Remember this,” I would say to myself all the time. “Remember the way the nape I’d get neck smells. Remember how she plays with your hair while you’re breastfeeding. Remember these peals of laughter that sound like a thousand angels playing bells.”
When you were in your terrible twos (and then threes,) it became so apparent that you were your OWN people, not extensions of me at all (and boy am I glad of that!)
Peeling you off the floor of the grocery store, where you’d decided to tantrum hard core over God only knows what minor disappointment, I told myself to remember that, too. “Someday, you’ll look back in this and laugh,” I said to me. And without fail, when your tears were dry, you’d crawl up in my lap and say “I love you, Mommy.” And all was right with the world.
In your elementary school years, you were all about learning. Some of our best times were going to museums, and art festivals (and of COURSE cultural fairs!) Witnessing the unfolding of your minds was one of the greatest pleasures of my life. So bright! So eager to learn about the world.
Then you became ‘tweens and Lord have Mercy, Katie bar the door! All of the sudden, my mom confidence plummeted.
I no longer felt like I knew what I was doing at all, but I faked that I did.
You were morphing into beautiful, opinionated beings of light with penchants for drama.
And even in the midst of arguments, I still told myself, “Remember this…” When the squalls passed over, we were all three right as rain again.
These were the years I welcomed my Bonus Daughter, not by birth, but by grand design. I’m grateful. God must really love me or something.
In the blink of an eye, you girls were in high school. My babies not so much babies, but spitfires unafraid to assert themselves and their ideas.
Your ideas were certainly not my ideas, nor my beliefs yours. But oh my God how proud I was that you had that crazy zeal for life, and in your quest to figure it all out, we became actual friends.
There have been many moments of sheer terror in being a parent. And many, many more fervent prayers. And I still try not to take one moment for granted, even though we don’t always see eye-to-eye.
I’ll love you forever, I’ll like you for always, As long as I’m living my baby you’ll be.
Always my babies, now you are almost 26 and 29.
You’ve given me stretch marks and gray hair, and the greatest joy I’ve ever known.
When we spend time together, there is still a piece of my mama heart whispering, “Remember this.
Remember laughing so hard that we peed a little.
Remember her face when she accomplished that goal that she worked to hard to achieve.
Remember all of the difficult times, but especially remember the beautiful breakthroughs.”
I’m so very proud of you, always.
So, thanks for making me a Mom, my loves.