This year was my very first Mother’s Day, and it had been a long time coming! My stubborn child decided she would finally make her appearance into the world two days after Mother’s Day last year, so while many of my new-mom friends are celebrating with their infants; I waited over a year to celebrate becoming a mom. This day had so many emotions that came with it; at first I wasn’t sure how to process everything.
Mother’s Day hasn’t always been a happy day for me. My own mother and I were estranged for many years, and my stepmom stepped into the role of my mom. Mother’s Day for the last decade has been a tense process of carefully worded letters of thankfulness for the mom that my stepmom was to me, while watching my siblings praise the woman I had no contact with. It has never been simple.
Being a mom to a daughter was something I was terrified of when I found out I was pregnant. Because of the relationship I had with my own mom, I was terrified of messing it up. I didn’t want to make the same mistakes, or be the same person that she had been to me. I wanted to be the best mom for my baby. I wanted us to have the best possible relationship and love her to no end. And for the last year, I’ve done everything I could to be that mom.
The life of a mom is hard- early mornings, endless bottles, doctor visits all the time, constantly worrying over every milestone. But loving her is easy. I’d choose her over anything else, all day every day. I wouldn’t give up singing our good morning song at 6 a.m. every day for anything else in this world. She lights up and dances in her pajamas, hanging on to her crib for balance as she grins and squeals. When she’s sick, she wants to lay with me and let me play with her hair while she snores on my chest. When she realizes I've left the room, she screams in protest and crawls quickly to find me. I wouldn’t know what to do without these moments in my life.
As it turns out, all the fear of being a bad mom disappeared when I actually had her. She was instantly the center of my world, and I knew that I would make the best decisions I could for her. And the last year has been a culmination of all of those decisions, big and small, that have helped me create a tiny human being that is thriving. From finding a brand of bottle she liked to choosing a daycare that fit our schedule, the last year has felt like a list of decisions. Some of these were hard, some were easy, but ultimately I believed them to be the best thing for her. Not everything was easy- doubt inevitably crept in to the small spaces of my mind that made me wonder if I was doing this right. Did I make the right choices? Was this the right thing to do? But eventually, everything came together.
And at a year old, my daughter and I have the best relationship I could have hoped for. I have no delusions that she won’t hate me when she’s thirteen and I have to ground her, but for now, I love the innocence and absolute joy that crosses her face when I come to pick her up from daycare. I love listening to her talk to herself in her room before I come in to get her for the morning. I love watching her push her little singing toys and dancing to them. I love every single moment I get to see her grow and love the life I’ve been able to provide for her.
To me, that’s what this Mother’s Day celebrated. It marked a year of putting her first, and doing it over and over again. It marked a complete change in my world that suddenly made everything make a little more sense. My husband got me a huge card and a Pandora charm for my bracelet to celebrate my first mother’s day. But the best part of the day was taking my entire family- my husband, daughter, and our two dogs- to the park and just being together. I got to listen to her squeal in the stroller and babble at our dogs walking beside her. And in true mom fashion, we had to stop at Wal-Mart to buy her more fruit pouches on the way home, because she started screaming and that’s all that would calm her.
It was my first Mother’s Day, and despite the wrong choices, despite wondering if I’d done the right thing, and despite all the doubt I had before she got here, this child is dependent on me. I’m her mom. And she’s happy, healthy, and very, very loved. My first mother’s day, I got to celebrate all the love and joy that came with having my girl.