Fifteen years and nine months ago, I became something I never thought I would become.
Fifteen years after the birth of my first child, I see pregnant women; hear them talk, and in a way feel wistful and almost envious of this incredibly magical time in their lives, and in another way thank GOD that I'm not in that position any more. Because - if it's their first, like this was mine, they have NO idea.
NO idea that the saying about moms is true - that being a mom is forever having your heart go walking around outside your body. NO idea that being a mom means experiencing the highest of highs and the lowest of lows - sometimes within the same day. NO idea that when you are a mother, you are never really alone in your thoughts - you have to think twice, once for yourself and once for your child. And NO idea that as a mother who, seeing there are only four pieces of pie for five people, will promptly announce that she never did care for pie.
I never thought I'd be a mom. I had no real aspirations in the maternal arena. In fact, after my son was born, I didn't feel that overwhelming joy and sense of completion that I thought I'd feel. I felt... overwhelmed. Anxious. Scared. And completely inadequate.
My oldest son came into this world fifteen years ago the way he lives in this world - taking his sweet time to get where he needs to be and making an entrance his own unique way. He is the only person who, aside from my parents, has been a constant in my life for the past 15 years. He has made me laugh harder than any comedian; he has made me cry harder than any tragedy. He is the first time I have not known, not even deep in my core, the answer.
When I was pregnant, I had what could be considered an odd wish for my children - I wished that they be average. Just average. Blend in, no drama, no uber-overachiver, no developmental delays. No surprises - just even keel. I even considered naming my firstborn "Joe" - in the hopes he would be "Joe Average".
I should have known better. No child is average. My child is not average. He is breathtaking. He is inspiring. He is insightful. He is perceptive. He is kind. He is inquisitive. He is fearless. He is unique.
And he is 15. I was 30 when I had him - and I've probably grown and learned more in the past 15 years than the 30 before that. My son has taught me patience. Selflessness. Understanding. Compromise. And the one trait he has taught me that has probably served me best - that there is not just one path in life - there are many. Some paths are straight - like those who are born knowing exactly what they want to do with their lives and walk straight to that goal without wavering. Others are a bit more winding - sort of like that kid in the Family Circus comic strip. They'll get there eventually - they just have a lot they want to see and explore along the way. And it's my job to know when to lead the way and when to follow a few steps behind.
When my oldest son was born, I wrote this to him: "You are my light, my joy, my sweet baby boy. You are the sunshine of my life, and I love you today, tomorrow and always, more than words can say." To this day, no matter what has come our way together, I still look at him with awe - awe that I brought him into this world. Awe that God gave him to ME. And so very, very proud that he calls me "Mom".
Happy 15th, Son.