This post is the first of our grand prize winners of our big “For the Love of Mom” writing contest. Over the next couple weeks leading up to Mother’s Day, we will be sharing our winner’s posts. Please feel free to comment and share them – we can’t wait to see how they resonate with YOU! Thank you, Jen, for your honesty and amazement of this thing we call parenthood!
A guest post by Jen Molter:
A few years back, I was feeling wishy-washy about having children because I wasn’t sure how a child would affect all the aspects of my life. My husband and I were enjoying the freedom of being a young couple and traveled a lot for pleasure to places full of natural wildness and beauty. Although my doubt was fairly short-lived, my dad said something that really stuck with me. He said having kids is like going from living in black and white to color – it is that amazing. I appreciated his metaphor though I couldn’t actually understand it at the time.
Last April I gave birth to our son, Ewan.
I remember sitting on our front steps while holding his little lumpy body, then only a couple days old. The old tall trees that line our street had just blossomed and were a vibrant, almost fluorescent, green. As I gazed out I distinctly recall thinking, I have never seen a tree so beautiful, so green, and so wonderful just to look at. My son’s arrival ushered me into a new chapter of my life and transformed me into a mother. What makes this transformation so momentous is that I know I’ll never go back to being the person I was before, regardless of how his dependency on me decreases and varies in the years to come.
The two best gifts my son has given me (so far) are a new kind of love and a new filter through which to observe the world. The new kind of love is one that cannot be described in words but only felt and experienced firsthand. I think my inability to bridge the gap from feelings to words is similar to trying to explain loss – it too cannot be fully described, only felt. Loving a child that is mine to embrace and teach and forgive and be responsible for is an overwhelming, incredible feeling. Love for a child is also a bit perplexing because it happens oppositely to the love we feel for our partners, especially in modern day relationships in which partners choose to marry one another after getting to know each other first. When my son arrived, I didn’t know very much about his personality at all, yet I loved him instantly. My love has grown tremendously as we’ve gotten to know each other better. And while I’m certainly not describing a unique kind of relationship, it is however a very unique kind of love to experience for the first time – one that I could not have imagined prior to his joining our lives.
As for my new filter, becoming a mom instantly changed how I view the world, in my personal life and even in far-off stories. As I interact with different individuals, I cannot help but think about their mothers. Somewhere, at some time, a mother put her heart and soul into raising that person. Whether she’s still alive or not, her love still goes on. I remind myself of this when I notice the variety of people that make up our world. The homeless man sitting outside the library. The well-dressed office worker walking home. The person on the news sentenced to prison time. The old lady who loves greeting babies in strollers. The stranger who ignores my greeting. All of these people have mothers who’ve loved and still love them, who’ve given their child their best attempt at providing long-lasting life guidance and endless love. And as I reflect on my softer perspective, I ask myself, What does this matter? It matters because my emotions towards humanity are deeper. The joys are more joyful, and the sadness is even tougher to bear. This depth of empathy that mothers feel towards people – especially strangers – helps us all. It offers a most lovely, essential alternative to all the toughness and harshness and bitterness that life also provides.
As I complete final preparations for my son’s 1st birthday party, I revel in the thought that the word birthday has entirely new meaning to me now. It isn’t just a day, and it wasn’t just a birth to me; it was the greatest metamorphosis I’ll probably ever experience. I am thankful for the gifts my son has given me and all the fantastic colors I can now see from my own front porch.
Jen is a full-time get-out-of-the-house-mom and licensed civil engineer who resides in Scotch Plains, New Jersey. She and her husband Kevin enjoy walking & talking together, hiking, and traveling to faraway places as often as possible. They’ve learned that hard days with their 1 year old son are made much easier by simply going outside.
This post was written exclusively for Tales of a Mountain Mama in response to the For the Love of Mom writing contest.
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