Four kids call me Mom. One girl and three boys.
I love them all with the same ferociousness. But I find that I mother differently between the sexes.
I want my daughter to be strong and independent. I want her to have her own mind. To know that with hard work and passion, she can do anything in life.
Of course, I want that for my boys as well. But with her it seems imperative that she understands just how important that is. Women have kicked in doors for her. And I want her to knock down a few herself.
I want my sons to be strong and independent. But I guess there is less urgency in my approach with them. With good guidance and love, they will make their way.
Right after they are through being Mommy’s babies.
Having boys is fascinating. My three are so very different from one another.
One day it occurred to me though, that we aren’t just raising boys. We are raising men.
That was profound.
Maybe the fact that I didn’t have my biological father in my life, made me intensely interested in the experience of watching men evolve, right before my eyes.
I was now responsible for three boys who would one day be grown men. Potentially having daughters and sons of their own.
My boys have a father who loves them very much. He models what it is to be a man. They learn from his daily example.
They are always watching. Even when you think they aren’t.
He teaches them about work ethic, common decency, honesty and respect for your fellow-man. And also how to treat women.
A boy’s first love is his mother. And how his dad treats his mother, has a profound impact on the man that he will become.
I take my role of First Love very seriously. My job is to show them how a woman who loves them, should treat them.
I couldn’t imagine that anyone could ever love them more than I do. I would die for them.
But one day, there is going to be someone who will steal their hearts from me.
That is the natural progression of life.
Even more than I want to be their forever best girl, I want them to know love one day.
As a mother, we work to prepare ourselves for that shift, from the very moment that they put that baby boy into our arms.
But I am not sure that we are ever ready. We only have them for so long. And even forever wouldn’t be long enough.
A mother’s love is unconditional. Anything that they need, I would move mountains to obtain.
I have been here for every fever and every tummy ache. Every scrape and every bruise. I have kissed away each tear.
When life serves disappointment, I am there to pick them up and hold them higher. In every disappointment there is opportunity for growth.
I have changed diapers that made me want to die. Read their favorite story eight times in one night. Rocked them to sleep. And checked under the bed for the Boogie Man.
I have sat at baseball games, spelling bees, musical programs and award ceremonies, with a grin on my face that you couldn’t scour off with Ajax.
That is what it means to be a parent.
But I cannot expect these boys to be mine forever. We are raising men after all.
I take that responsibility very seriously.
I want my men to be great and to do great things. Just like every other mother. I want the world to be better, for them being in it.
Sometimes I see glimpses of the men that they will become. I see it in their actions. I see their hearts.
One son holds doors for me and refuses to walk through until I have. Every time. He tells me that I am beautiful when I put on a dress.
Another son is the most compassionate person I know. He sees someone struggling and wonders how he can help.
Yet another son brightens my world with his humor and quick wit. He makes me smile when I don’t have a smile to give.
Now of course, Dad and I can’t take all the credit. We became parents one day, knowing nothing about actually being parents. They are teaching us one day at a time.
I look at my children and I see possibilities. And promise. And hope.
My wish is that they always treat people fairly. That they are kind.
I want them to be involved in things that matter. And to take stands. Lend a hand. Give people a chance.
I want them to live life with zest and follow their passions. I want them to love without fear.
I want them to know that life is challenging. And nothing worth having is easily secured.
Most of all I want them to know that I love them. From the very moment that I knew they existed, I loved them.
Watching my children on their journey is the most rewarding thing that I could have ever imagined.
We learn from mistakes.
We celebrate victories.
And we live, one day at a time.