Ellie on the subway.
As Mother’s Day rapidly approaches, I have become very reflective about the way I became a mother. For those of you that aren’t totally read in to “Cara’s Road to Motherhood“, I’ll catch you up to speed. I was dating someone for a couple months, I got pregnant, and I became pregnant and single, which morphed in to – single and a mother.
But that doesnt mean that my pregnancy was a mistake, and equally it doesn’t mean that my daughter was a mistake. (By the way, if you ever refer to my daughter as a mistake, I won’t even give you the courtesy of telling you I am upset – I will simply cut you out of our lives.)
There is nothing about my child that is a mistake.
Dating a male that didn’t have the same respect for life, both born and unborn, as I did? Mistake.
The life that came as a result of dating that male? Not a mistake.
Not thinking about the consequences of my actions? Mistake.
Those actions delivering a life-changing result in the form of a beautiful child? Not a mistake.
Being fooled into believing the superficial made the person? Mistake.
Realizing what is truly important? Not a mistake.
Worrying so much that I missed out on some amazing moments of early motherhood? Mistake.
Staying in our PJS all day and playing with every single toy we have in the apartment? Not a mistake.
Focusing on what is missing, instead of what is present? Mistake.
Learning how to be completely present
, and in doing so, enjoying the minutia of parenthood, the good, the bad and the ugly – and in doing so, really living a full life? Not a mistake.
Don’t get me wrong. This is hard. Many of you never see it, or hear it – but I cry. I worry. I’ve got most of the logistics of single motherhood down. But I am still struggling with some of the conceptual aspects. Ellie knows what a Daddy is. As I have mentioned before
, there are some really great Dads in her music class…and I refer to them as “so-an-so’s Daddy”. Lately she has been pointing to male friends, and saying, “Daddy?”
This breaks my heart. It makes me cry.
But it is not a mistake – there are a lot of great Dads in this world, and there is no reason Ellie shouldn’t get to know them.
I go out of my way to do everything I can to be Mom and Dad, which means working full-time, trying to advance my career to give Ellie everything, while attempting to strike that balance of being an actively involved working Mom
. She is currently taking a music class, which the musically challenged Mom in me loves. And she also loves to throw and kick balls across the playground – so the terribly un-athletic Dad in me has started looking into some version of soccer classes for kids her age. All of this means I have nearly zero free-time to myself. But it is not a mistake.
It is love. Not a silly soccer class, or an educational music class. That isn’t love. The time and energy it takes to raise a child properly, that is love. The dedication to my daughter, the ability to smile when I walk in the door even after a really difficult day at work? That is love.
My path to motherhood was not what I had planned, for myself or for my daughter.
Do I wish so many of the circumstances of Ellie’s life were different? Of course.
Do I blame myself for not creating a more ideal set of circumstances for the person I love more than anything? Sometimes.
Is there ever a moment that I think that my daughter is anything other than an absolute miracle? Never.
Her shirt says, "Long, Live, Love."