Watching Prince Harry and Meghan marvel at their newborn Archie reminds me of the moment I met our newborn, William, for the first time. My role in this world changed, as I became responsible for the life of another human being. I remember riding home from the hospital with our newborn in the car, thinking how much the world had changed from the moment I walked into the hospital. For the first time in my 28 years of life, the world seemed to be such a dangerous place: reckless drivers, deadly germs everywhere, soft toys that could suffocate. Being a new parent is terrifying, exhausting and exhilarating – all at the same time.
Fortunately, my mother was by my side to navigate the new days of parenthood. As I read every book on parenting, fretted over trying to find the right diapers that fit right, settled into nursing, and tried to teach my newborn to sleep according to a schedule, my mom stepped in and reminded me that the most important gift I could give my child is to just love him. In the days, weeks, months and years to follow, these words have been my guide through parenthood.
Our children desperately need us in the early days for their survival, and then gradually pull away as they become responsible for their own sustenance. As much as I want to hold on, I have learned that the biggest job as Mom is learning to let go.
While my faults will be reflected in the different quirks that my children will carry forward, I also know that I have heeded my own mother’s advice. I love my children. They have felt my love in the long nights when I have held them in my arms and admired every piece of fuzz on their head, every freckle on their cheek, every pimple on their chin. They have felt my love in the prayers of thanksgiving I give during every part of my day. They have felt my love when I’m beaming with pride in the bleachers as our middle son makes his moves on the football field – as the only male cheerleader. Or when I’m giving up my Saturday mornings to run our daughter to auditions and rehearsals. Or when I’m leaving a business meeting early to arrive at school just in time to hear our first born play the Euphonium for the last time before he graduates high school.
I’ve been too stern in my discipline at times. I’ve also been too lax, and given them too much rope. I’ve given praise too easily, and I’ve also resorted to shame in moments of exasperation.
I’ve not done everything right – but I’ve rightly loved them. I’ve loved getting to be a mom alongside some of the strongest women who are part of my community: my friends, my family, my clients, my colleagues.
Happy Mother’s Day, to all my fellow moms who are making it all happen one day at a time!