Friday, January 13, 2012

Sorpresas te da la vida...

Life will surprise you.  Yes indeed!

Most of my adult life, I've heard women say "I've been dreaming of my wedding day since I was a little girl", or "when I was a kid, I knew what kind of wedding I wanted", etc, etc.  You get the idea.

I wasn't one of those girls.  I never dreamed of my wedding day.  NEVER.  Never wondered what it would be like to walk down the aisle, dressed in a white gown, with a veil on my head and with a handsome man waiting for me at the altar.  I didn't daydream of the day prince charming would come and sweep me off my feet, and we'd ride together into the sunset.  Not once.

Maybe you are wondering what kind of childhood I had. Was I a tomboy?  Am I missing the girl gene that makes the other girls dream of prince charming?  Maybe the answer is yes to both.  I never liked dolls, never in my almost 40 years owned a Barbie.  Never wanted one, not even as a kid.  One of my earliest memories is asking my mom for a Tonka Truck for Christmas.  Yes, you read that right, a Tonka truck.  It may seem odd, specially when I grew up surrounded by four sisters.  I still remember how happy I was to find a green Tonka jeep under the tree that year. 

Don't get me wrong, I liked boys growing up.  I had crushes and swooned if one of them looked my way.  But from there to dreaming they would one day be my chosen beloved, that was a leap I never made.  That stayed with me until college.  My friends, those who knew me when my last time was still Gutierrez, will probably tell you I was very adamant about one thing :  No marriage, and No kids.

Of course, I never took into account that a handsome man would sweep me off my feet, and that I would find myself married at the young age of 26.  Or that I would find myself the mother of three kids.

I'm glad life surprised me, and brought my way the 4 people who share my house.  They are pretty awesome folks, and definitely love me enough to put up with me all the time.  I have my best friend under the same roof, and three amazing little beings who remind me every day I have a purpose in life. I would not trade them for the world.

The other day I read a statement from a mom who said she missed being pregnant and missed breastfeeding.  It made me wonder if I'm really missing that gene I mentioned earlier.  I don't miss my pregnancies.  I love my children, and I'm glad I was able to give them life but I did not enjoy any part of the pregnancy.  I didn't like having to carry 30+ extra pounds, not to mention the extra fat I accumulated eating for 2, and 3 people at once.  I do not miss having to sleep on my side, or my back, when my favorite position is sleeping on my belly.  I do not miss having to lay in bed for weeks to give the boys more incubation time.  I don't miss the extra swelling of hands, feet, and face, sleepless nights, not to mention the heartburn.  I simply don't. 

I wonder if those women had the perfect pregnancies, and that's why they miss it.  If they did, good for them.  I'm glad all that is over and done. 

I'm a huge advocate for breastfeeding.  I am lucky enough to be part of a culture where breastfeeding is not only encouraged, but expected.  I don't miss breastfeeding though.  Even though I tried it with both pregnancies, it was difficult for me.  Not to go into details, but it made me feel inadequate as a woman and a mother.  Thank God for the lactation consultant who told me I could bond with my twins as I bottlefed them, just as I did when I breastfed them.  I know many women out there successfully do it, I wasn't one of them.  My experience wasn't what I anticipated, so I don't miss it.

When my firstborn was on her way, I wondered if I was made to be mom.  I didn't fit the typical idea of what a mom should be.  I had a career and all intention to keep it after she was born.  What if I didn't have any maternal instinct? What if I didn't love this new person instantly?

I have learned in the last ten years that being a mom is about building a relationship with this new person.  Candace and I had to get to know each other, and become the mother and daughter we are today.  Yes, I loved her from day one and would have died for her (and still would!) but I am reminded often she is her own person.  Not an extension of me.  Not an accessory.  She is her own being, and she deserves to be respected as such.  The same is true of my boys. 

I am not the perfect mother.  There are many times, after they are in bed, and I climbed (exhausted!) into mine, when I wonder if I am doing a good job. Am I raising human beings who will go out into the world and make a difference in some way?  There are many times when I feel as a bad mom.

I look at these kids, at the amazing people they are, how kind, loving, and caring they are; and I think maybe I don't have to do anything other than provide an environment where they can thrive.  They were made to be amazing, loving creatures; that's not my creation.  Maybe all I have to do is love them, guide them, and watch them grow.

La vida esta llena de sorpresas...