Tuesday, May 08, 2012

Motherhood Essay Winner: Ani Taylor

Motherhood is...
By: Ani Taylor

I Needed to be Super-Mom
It had been seven months, to the day, since we had sent our seven month-old daughter back to Heaven. I was driving with my three year old in the back seat, when she said, “Remember when Grammy was my mom, and Grandpa was my Dad?” The tears welled up in my eyes, and a familiar sting returned to my heart. “Yes, Kate, I remember that.” Was it guilt? Was it regret? I tried to wrap my head around these emotions that I had not dealt with for seven months. As I made my way through traffic I recalled those long months in the hospital, of not only caring for my dying baby, but also trying to still be a mother to my sweet three year old.
I vividly remember Kate’s first day of swim lessons as if it was yesterday. Not because I was there, but because I wasn’t. I snuck out of Ruby’s hospital room, and Face-Timed Kate in a sterile hallway for a few minutes before her lesson started. Her hair was in braids, and she wore a little cover-up over her pink swimsuit. Her eyes were a little teary, because she was nervous about her first lesson. I found myself in a place, I never imagined, in huge hospital with a very sick baby down the hall, and on the phone was frightened three year old, needing to hear my voice and be reassured. They both needed me in that moment, and I had never felt so torn.
Being a mom should come with the ability to be two places at once, because right then, I needed to be Super Mom.
I learned a lifetime of lessons on motherhood during those short months of feeling torn between my two daughters. I learned that I can’t always be the kind of mother I want to be, exactly when I want to be. I learned that no one knows my children like I do, and no one needs me like my children do. But the most important thing I learned about motherhood was to simply love my child, and that was something that I could do, no matter what my circumstances were.
I have the unfortunately perspective of losing a child. I wish my life was busy with two, little daughters, but instead, I have a new vision of what it really means to be a mother day in and day out. It is not just about the snotty noses, carpools and the endless demands for snacks. It is about loving my children. It is about giving my whole self to them. It is about forgetting the world, the expectations, and the “To-Do” lists. It’s about getting down on the floor, and really playing. It is about taking a few extra minutes to inhale your sleeping infant. It is about singing lullabies and whispering “I love you’s”. I have learned the difference between mothering, and being a mother.
My role as a mother has not been what I thought it would be. I needed to hand off my mothering duties for one daughter, as I painfully watched the second, slowly slip from this world. But I loved both children with everything that I had in me, and in turn, they have taught me what it is to love, and to fight, and to hope, and ultimately, how to be a mother.

Ani's blog here.