This prompt is a fun one, and the timing is perfect. As I was flipping through old photos earlier this week, daydreaming about actually having time to put them in albums for the kids (true confession: Nicholas is 10 and he has no scrapbooks. None. Adam is 15 and I think I've done up to year 3 or 4 for him. And Erin? Fugetaboutit……)
But I digress. I stumbled on this photo of Kathy and I from Nicholas' baptism. Right about 10 years ago.
Who IS that girl? And has it really been only 10 years? 10 years since I had two boys instead of 3 kids. 10 years since married became divorced. 10 years since Chicago picked up and hauled a life's worth of stuff back to Kansas? 10 years, countless jobs, a business (or two), holidays, school plays, parent teacher conferences and a million other details I vowed to never forget but can't remember no matter how hard I try.
When that picture was taken, at St. Margaret Mary Church on the North side of Chicago, I felt a part of that community. I was in that magical early-mommyhood time where it was just us and the kids. Sure, there was family and daycare and a babysitter here and there, but I hadn't yet registered anyone for school. Hadn't had a 'discussion' with a teacher or a principal. Hadn't yet learned that being a mom is as much about being an advocate for your child as it is about being a cheerleader. Hadn't learned that, when push comes to shove, moms can do that regardless of whether they are single, partnered, young or old. We just have to do it.
When I had Adam–15 years ago–I joked that I missed the time I didn't realize I had in college. I could make that same joke now, about missing the time when I was younger, thinner, less hurried, less jaded. It wouldn't necessarily be true,though (except for the younger and thinner part). I still have the same time, like everyone else; I just spend it differently. I choose differently. Not always wisely, mind you. Just different.
And now, today, I am reminded that we define ourselves by the titles we keep. Mom, ex-wife, daughter, sister, friend, coach, confidante. Cheerleader, advocate, chauffeur, pocketbook, cook, maid, laundress, disciplinarian, cupcake baker, boo-boo kisser, organizer, writer, storyteller……the list never ends, does it? I hope not. And I'm excited to see how it expands in another 10 years.