Mother of all possibilities.

I had this picture in my head of the mother that I would be before my first son was born.

It looked kind of like this.

Image

But, you know, with a baby instead of a joint.

Now granted – with the exception of small breast size – nothing in this photograph would remind anyone of me.

But it’s not about reality.  It’s about how I saw myself.

Free, easy, loving and open-minded.

Unburdened by the concerns that historically causes both a distinct deep forehead wrinkle and stress-incontinence in generations of mothers in my family.

Not I.

I was smarter, better educated and more sophisticated in my approach to motherhood.

And then I actually had kids.

And over the years my mental picture changed significantly.

About five years in I saw myself more like –

Image

Not quite free and easy but still loving and open-minded.

And with helpful advice that only a mother can offer, like “You shouldn’t put down a loser…because you might be one yourself someday. Just remember that.”

Oh Carol Brady, how right you were.

Then, about ten years in I saw myself more like –

Image

Still loving but slightly self-destructive and possibly dangerous to both small children and pets.

And now…twenty-one years of parenting savoir-faire under my belt?

Image

Like a maternal version of the Faces of Meth.

A furrow the size of the Grand Canyon between my eyebrows and pelvic floor muscles that waved a white flag to my bladder sometime in the late 90s.

Motherhood is its own reward.

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