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I swear, I don’t think I cried this much during high school! (And don’t think that with a graduating class of only 48 kids you don’t have your fair share of tears. When something goes down in a school that small, you can bet your lunch money that by the time 2nd period is over, no matter what went down, big or small, the whole school knew about it. Wild fire!)

But high school drama and real world, mommy drama… two totally different beasts!

See, two years ago the word “freedom” was my life. I could walk out the door and not have to run through my now exhaustive list of 50 things I needed before making sure the door didn’t lock behind me. Getting in and out of the car took mere seconds. There was no time crunch in running errands. And I had absolutely no idea where the nearest Babies R Us was? (Or what an addiction that store would become!) In fact, I used to be so afraid of that store that my sister-in-law did all my registering online for my baby shower because I couldn’t handle the overwhelmingness of that very scary store! (What small thing needed ALL THAT stuff?) Without realizing it, before I was a mom, I was pushing against the reality that I would someday be a mom. Everything about it frightened me. I didn’t think I would ever really be old enough (or mature enough) to make it a reality. It was always “down the road”.

Well hello “down the road”. I see you have caught up with me. And enter stage left the crying, the tears and the growing up phase of life… the real growing up!

I’m happy to say that I made it, in tact, through my first full calendar year as a mom and if that doesn’t take you from a wet behind the ears amateur to seasoned professional, then by God nothing will. And my oh my, how things have changed! The once horrifying task of smelling a butt for poopies is now a daily activity. I’m a pro at picking boogers out of a tiny nose, and I find myself standing on a street corner in the cold waiting for any bus to drive by—not to ride it but so we can both shout BEEP BEEP as it passes by. (And did anyone notice my use of the word “poopies” like it was nothing? I just threw it out there and didn’t think twice about it. Who does that?) It’s a bit of a mind-blowing shock to the system to be transformed in such a major way and there is no way you can prepare for it, it’s just the journey of a mom. Each one different but nonetheless transforming.

A lot changes in a year... a lot indeed!

A lot changes in a year… a lot indeed!

And this transition… holy moly was it a process. In fact, it was a big, messy, drama-laiden hot mess of a process! There were big, sloppy wet tears; there were massive breakdowns and numerous call to my own mom sobbing as I tried to explain to her that I sucked as a mom. There were food fights and tantrums… yea, it was ugly. Have you ever seen a mom sitting on a park bench, staring off into the distance as a baby slept close by all snuggled up in a stroller? I bet you anything that mom is sitting back thinking of the day when she used to spend $100 on a pair of shoes she would end up wearing only once, and how her life used to be all about her, and only her. That was me, I was totally that mom. I was pushing against the reality of my new life. I was still very frightened in those first few months.

And believe me, I get that all moms go through this, I have two sisters and a sis-in-law who eagerly share their stories and while they make us all laugh as we tell them, it’s a hard struggle for us all. We change and adapt because we have to, we must. It’s survival of the fittest at its core. I know for me it was scary to look at myself and not be familiar with that person looking back. Who was I? Who had I become? At first I didn’t like this person, and this person was supposed to be nurturing a baby who hopefully would one day become a functioning member of society. But how was that possible since I wasn’t even a functioning member of society most days! Talk about an internal struggle for peace and acceptance. I liked me the way I was. I had no idea how to be a mom, and be good at it too!

Yet, despite all this internal struggling that I wrangled with, I somehow managed to make it through the year, and as it neared its end, I realized something. That somewhere along the way, I accepted my new form of ‘freedom’. I stopped pushing against it. I stopped resenting it. I started accepting my new life and came to terms with it. I don’t know exactly when, or how it happened, it was one of those gradual, almost non-event kind of changes. The crying became less and less, and the tantrums and frantic phone calls gradually subsided.I learned how to assess, handle and alter situations. (The word “distraction” became my best friend!) I had indeed, just as my son had, grown up.

Rumor has is that when you pray for patience, you get it by having to learn how to use it. It isn’t just granted as we would hope, it’s presented in situations that push you to your bitter end, and you have to learn how to bring yourself back from the brink without losing it all right there on the kitchen floor! (Been there, done that 😉 )

I think one of the best things you can do at year-end is to be able to look back and realize that you’re leaving the year a better person than when you entered the year. And I ONE THOUSAND PERCENT can say that I am a much better person because of my son and everything that he taught me about myself this year. I’m sure there is more to come, but I’m finally growing up… little by little.

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