Yesterday, on Mother's Day, I took my daughter Elizabeth back home to visit my mother and sister. Since I have to work full-time, I take every opportunity possible to spend time with Elizabeth, and while I believe that I don't take a lot of that for granted, whenever it's just the two of us on an outing, I have a particularly clear understanding of how special she is to have. Maybe it's the reactions she gets from others - when we stopped at Wendy's for a snack, she walked in with her blue-polka-dot dress and sweater, clutching her baby doll, and everyone inside automatically smiled at her. How could you not feel lucky to have that?
My life has changed a lot since I had Elizabeth. Thank god. It wasn't what I planned at the time, but had I known anything about it, I should have. How great it is that life doesn't go exactly the way we plan it. Otherwise things that we're too scared or dense to realize would never come to fruition.
Probably one of the best things, in terms of my own growth, in being a mother is learning how to think beyond yourself. There are so many things you concern yourself with - your appearance, having new gadgets, or going out and getting drunk - that simply don't matter after you have a child. And it doesn't mean you don't take care of or have pride in yourself, not to mention have some fun occasionally. But it does mean you realize there are more important things to have in your life besides those. It means you strip away a lot of the unnecessary things and reveal the essence underneath.
Having the structure of working and caring for a child suits me perfectly. I'm free to get up as early as I like, go to a job consisting generally of what I would be sitting around home doing were I not working, and have enough money to be comfortable. Beyond stability, I also have the freedom to concentrate on long-term goals that weren't possible when I was just a struggling student. In short, this adult thing is working out pretty well. And the mom thing even better.
On our way home, I stopped to pick up some Starbucks, and the woman at the window waved and cooed at Elizabeth. As I pulled away, she said, "Oh, wait - Happy Mother's Day!" And it was.