Motherhood Lessons You Can’t Teach

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IMG_4814I have a few friends who are about to give birth to their very first children this week.  And this week my first born turned eleven. ELEVEN!?!?! Needless to say the conversations, advice and trips down memory lane have been flowing. Witnessing my friends or anyone really walk through the rite of passage of stepping into motherhood has to be one of my favorite things ever.  I absolutely love seeing someone’s heart get ripped wide open as they understand love in a way they never imagined.

Watching a seven pound little human completely undo everything they thought they knew, teach them about life, about themselves is truly something to behold. Seeing them gain a confidence that may start out foreign but quickly becomes broken-in and soon second-nature reminds me that while we all have our unique stories, this thing called motherhood bonds us together in a journey of discovery.

Whether we transition into motherhood through pregnancy, adoption, or marrying someone that has a built-in family – the transition is beautiful, messy and leaves us far different than it finds us.  

Eleven years later and I’m far different. Yep, motherhood has wrecked me in the best way possible. This venture into the pre-teen years is humbling, heart-wrenching and not for the faint of heart. Valentine’s Day morning, I took a few minutes at breakfast to tell each of my kids some things I loved about them. With each word I saw their little chests puff out with a sense of pride, feeling the love in my words literally build them up. I could see it in their eyes.

We were all smiling, it was a sweet moment. Then my eleven year-old daughter says, “Can I tell you what I love about you?”

It caught me off guard, but of course I said, “Sure!” Without thinking, I braced myself, ready to hear a sweet little sentiment from my baby girl. Instead a little lady, who I swear was a toddler yesterday, spoke up.

“I just love that we are best friends,” she said.

Her words hung in the air for a second as they sunk in and penetrated my heart. It’s not uncommon to exchange loving words in my house, but I’ll never forget those loving words.

I can tell my friends about why they should choose an epidural as soon as possible, offer advice for sleepless nights, warn them that the exact day their daughter turns three some weird alternate version of their little girl will come and make them wonder why everyone makes a big deal about the terrible twos but fails to warn them about the three-year old declaration of independence…but I can never prepare them for moments like that.

Some things you just have to experience.

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