Tonight I was going through these pictures and thinking about this kiddo and how much I love him. How much I wish I could remember every single thing he said this week that made me die laughing or every little thing he did that made me teary and proud of him. And to be totally and completely honest, I was really just thinking...he is so freaking cute and I want to eat his face! How is my kid so cute? I don't feel like that's braggy because I know everyone has those moments. Earlier today I was talking to one of my best friends from college who is at a totally different stage of life- she is at school, dating someone and close to getting engaged. We were talking about marriage and kids and the future and how to plan for it and kind of how to decide what is right when. When I was going through my blogging hiatus a few months ago I had this about 12-hour horrible experience that started when we were driving in the car to somewhere far away- and I realized I didn't finish school. Obviously I knew that. But I really realized it. My younger cousin was about to graduate, and I think that's what really started the tailspin- but then I realized that all my best friends had or were and I was like wait, what?! I didn't finish? why??? WHY. And do you know what, I know the exact moment that I was done. I was sitting on my bed, several months pregnant with Jax with a migraine, trying not to puke for probably the 8th time and trying to write an essay. I was sobbing on my bed and McKay came in and I just said, I can't do this. I have to be done. I have to finish later. And then Jax was born and McKay graduated and we moved to a place where he could get a good job. But in the car that day, I thought about the example I was setting for my future girls. Some trend I was starting for future generations. How my kids would view at me. And dozens of other things which I don't remember because it only lasted several hours and then it was done. Hallelujah! But it was just horrible. My worth as a mom and as a woman just tanked for a few hours. But today as we talked I told my friend that whenever she planned (or didn't plan) to have a baby and it happened, that it would be right. It would feel like a piece of your family was there that you didn't realize had been missing.
Sometimes when I give advice like that, I wonder what people really think. Like if they're picturing this person in grey sweats with raggedy hair and snot on her shoulder and a kid on her hip (probably true 80% of the time) proclaiming these things that just sound not up to parr with the world. I kind of think that there's this responsibility we feel sometimes to make a difference- and if not that, at the very least, prove that whatever we are doing, we are doing good. But that's hard, because sometimes we're just not. My mom didn't finish college either. She met my dad and they got married and then she got pregnant with me. As I've grown up, she's done lots of things- hobbies and a couple jobs, but to me, she's always just been my mom. She made the best beds on the couch when I was sick and she packed my lunch from first grade to my senior year. She feeds my babies so I can eat whenever we go there for dinner. She washed and folded all my laundry when we moved. She helped me paint my kitchen cabinets. She taught me how to nurse my kids. She talks me through all my mom worried and guilts. She made me want to be a mom because I saw how much she loved it every day. To me, nothing else ever seemed even close to as fun, or as fulfilling and especially as important as being a mom. It would be awesome to have a degree. I would love that! I would be proud and happy and grateful for it. But it wouldn't come close to the gratitude I feel for that kiddo who's going to sleep in my bed right now. The same bed I sat on crying with my last college essay.
I used to be really worried about my kids growing up. I wrote about it and thought about it and sometimes panicked because I was worrying about it so much, I felt like I wasn't enjoying the present. Like I was missing it. I've realized lately that the future doesn't make me sad if I know- like really know my kids every second it takes to get there. Like get on the floor with them and play for a whole afternoon. Or sit them on my lap and talk. Listen to what they say before bed. Stop rushing. Stop cleaning or cooking or editing pictures or whatever. Just know my kids, that day, everything about them, who they are, what they like, what they think, that day. Then I go to bed without the feeling that I missed something because I made sure that I didn't.
A lot of the time I feel like I need to prove something or make a difference in the world. But I'm making two differences- Jax and Jonah. I'll feed them and dress them and wipe their bums and their snot and peanut butter off their faces. And I'll teach them to mix cookies and color inside the lines and to cross monkey bars. They'll learn to share and notice others and make their beds. And I'll teach them why they're here and why they're important and why they're needed. And when they get older I hope they don't care that I didn't get my degree. I hope they know that I just couldn't wait to be their mom. And I hope they realize that the very best thing I knew to do for the world was to raise them.