I never envisioned myself as a mother.
As a teenager imagining my future, children were never a part of it. As an early twenty-something I even told people that “I’m never having kids.” I’m not a caregiver by nature, and children were never on my dreams list. I saw myself with a husband and a career I loved, living a wonderfully happy life and spending all of my free time and money on travel. But times change and priorities shift, and I found myself in my late twenties, married, with a husband who wanted children sooner than later. My biological clock was tick-tocking along, and for the first time in my life, I felt the pull of motherhood.
I had my first baby in January 2009 and my life suddenly all clicked together. So this is what all the fuss about, I thought, as I held my son and redefined my life’s purpose. My daughter was born in March of 2012, and our family was complete. “You surprise me,” my own mother told me once, “how much you love being a mom,” and she reminded me of that never-having-children statement I’d made less than ten years earlier. But to raise my children has become my biggest source of joy and my single greatest accomplishment.
So, when I tell you stories about parenting and share my child-rearing experiences, please know that they come straight from the heart, unfiltered and vulnerable, likely accompanied by tears on the other side of this keyboard.
That’s where today’s story comes from. Let me set the scene, so you can see what I saw on Sunday morning. It was a busy day, full of birthday parties and family get-togethers and flag-football finales; our divide-and-conquer parenting strategy was in full effect, and I was spending the morning with my daughter at a classmate’s birthday party. On our way to the party, my little five-year-old gem smiled in the backseat. “Mommy,” she said, “it’s a girl’s morning and my heart is just filling up.” She phrased it just like that:
Her heart was filling up.
What a perfect description for a perfect morning, and she couldn’t be more right. My heart was filling up too.
This Summer, we’ve got a list of places we’d like to visit, a list of day trips we’d like to take, and two special Day Dates carved into the calendar. One day for my daughter and I, while my son and husband do their thing, and one day with the opposite pairings. The only rule of Day Dates is that it’s child-planned; we’ve talked about it a lot already, and the kids are excitedly plotting these special days, full of activities entirely of their choosing. And when looking at our upcoming Summer, these Day Dates just might be the highlight of the whole season.
In fact, my heart is filling up just thinking about it.