Sunday, May 12, 2013

Celebrating motherhood

Just one week old, Cate had already changed my life and made me a momma. May 13, 2007.

I became a mother a week before my first Mother's Day. Our new family of three spent the first eight nights of our newborn daughter's life away from home -- one in a hospital room and the next seven in a Comfort Suites room -- while we waited for the green light from folks in Indianapolis, Indiana, and Frankfort, Kentucky, who were signing and mailing and filing interstate adoption paperwork.

There were years of yearning and months of waiting of this specific baby girl, yet in an instant I become a mom. She was not quite 24 hours old when the nurse made sure the car seat was secure in the back of our blue Oldsmobile Alero and then waved goodbye. We left the hospital and headed to that Comfort Suites that was closer to the state line. Just across the river were family and friends who were excited to meet this much-prayed-for and much-hoped-for baby girl. 

But becoming parents doesn't meant you don't want to eat, so we stopped along the way at Arby's. Yes, we had a day-old baby and stopped for curly fries. I even had to change a tiny newborn diaper in the public bathroom. Nothing like diving into real life, huh?

Except we didn't dive all the way in right away. 

For a week, we slept in a hotel, where my only mothering responsibilities included mixing and measuring formula, feeding a precious baby, changing diapers, occasionally answering a phone call from someone wanting to ask one more question regarding our adoption paperwork, washing bottles in a tiny sink, telling my mom and friends what we wanted to eat, and making plans of whether they were coming to our hotel room or we were meeting at a restaurant.

That's so not real life, where laundry piles up, dinner needs to be cooked, the crumbs need to be swept, phone calls need to be returned, appointments need to be scheduled, groceries need to be bought, and homework needs supervised.

But it's here in real life that I'm really a momma. Yes, that baby girl came into my life, rocked my priorities and perception of how I thought things would be, and made me a momma. That's quite a feat for a baby girl who didn't talk or walk and barely weighed 8 pounds, but I haven't been the same since 8:54 p.m. May 6, 2007.

That baby girl turned 6 six days ago and has a 3 1/2-year-old brother who adores her. We have stayed in more hotels, visited with more friends, eaten at other restaurants, filled out more adoption paperwork, and made so many other plans since her birth.

Motherhood is about living and doing and loving and teaching and caring and adjusting, all while these little people who grow up into bigger people watching your every move. I think they aren't listening, but they learn as I do so much more quickly than as I say, which is both good and bad. Moms pour their lives into other lives, creating a legacy that may begin in a hospital room, move to a hotel room, and overflow into real life.

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