Thursday, July 31, 2014

Motherhood

Motherhood. Most woman, at some point in their pregnancy, sit quietly rubbing their bellies as they imagine what they will be like as moms. The pictures of things you "see" happening run softly through your mind. The fond imaginings bring a smile to your face while you count down the hours til you can hold that teeny tiny baby in your arms.

Then somewhere after you get used to being awake at midnight (or maybe just being awake when the awful party line and bad lawyer commercials come on) and just a little before falling asleep while attempting to drink your coffee, after heating it up for the third fourth time, you forget those dreams of motherhood you had.

The days are so long during the baby and toddlers years. And yet, the years go by so so quickly. So perfectly. In a blink. Out of no where one day something will make you think of those moments of blissful pondering you had, imagining your life as a mom.

That happened to me the other day. I don't recall what made me think of it but I was suddenly thrown back into those memories. The mom I had wanted to be someday...

I was going to be fun, and hip, and be just the right mix of "go explore your life" and stern "get your act together". I couldn't wait to sing lullabyes and teach my little girl, the song, Jesus Loves me. We would make so many cookies at Christmas that the house would smell for days, just like I did with my mom. Barefoot, and dirty we'd explore creeks and build dams just before heading inside to paint our nails.

I got caught up in so many whimsical tiny details that I completely didn't think about the bigger picture. Like what would happen if I wasn't able to be "a normal mom". I took it for granted that I would be a "healthy mom". Doesn't everyone? I never thought that there would be a moment, in my life, when I would have to employ my "creative parenting skills" so that I could play with my daughter. It wouldn't have even entered my mind that I might have to send L off to a party with her daddy, waving her chubby little fist goodbye, because I couldn't be out in the hot summer sun for too long.

Now, looking back after eight years of experience (knowing I have so many lovely years to look forward to) with motherhood and chronic illness I've come to sum it up like this...

It's like planning, all your life, to go to Italy and then finding out one day that you'll actually be going to Africa instead. They can both be the most absolute amazingly beautiful places to visit, but you will have a completely different experience then you originally planned for.

Parenting with a chronic illness is exactly like that. I have still been able to do all the things that I imagined just in completely different ways than I had imagined doing them. It's taught me to live in the moment. To not take it for granted that I will feel just as well tomorrow, so I might as well enjoy today. Being a mom is not always perfect moments. That goes for everyone. Sometimes it's just clinging by the edge of your seats as you desperately try to figure out what you should be doing. But my illness has made me see and enjoy those little things that some might take for granted in every day life. Those perfect little moments that I will always remember. The way the sun glinted off my daughters hair as she turned to run down the walking trail. Or the joy in L's face when I had a good day and was able to build, with her, a huge Lego horse barn for her My Little Ponies. I appreciate so much because I'm there with her. I don't just mean physically there. I mean, THERE for her. And, maybe. I have my Sjogren's to thank for the mother I am today. And the years, I've had with my girly so far, that I wouldn't change.

I might even go so far as to say that Motherhood with Sjogren's Syndrome has been serendipity for me.

ser·en·dip·i·ty [ser-uhn-dip-i-tee] 

noun
1. an aptitude for making desirable discoveries by accident.
2. good fortune; luck:


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