a letter to me.

An open letter to the me that was me before I was mommy. And to my babies. For hopefully someday they will be mommies too.

Dear Terra –

do not become too attached to your name. Someday you will hardly hear it at all, because it will have been replaced by “mommy”. And this will be the sweetest sound you will ever hear (except for the times/days/entire weeks where it will be the most screeching sound you will hear. It may even be sweet AND screeching in the same day, but rarely at the same time.)

While the concept of motherhood has always been something you took for granted would be bestowed upon you, you will not realize what an awesome weight and responsibility it will be until you look at the four offspring you have created, beautiful little girls so unblemished by the world, and the horrors of what is on the news, or lurking in dark alleyways, or not even in dark alleyways but in broad daylight down the street makes you realize why your own mother thought “culottes” and shapeless dresses and “why can’t we all just dress like the Amish?” was a good idea. But beyond even shaping and protecting your offspring as little girls who will someday be beautiful women – it is the responsibility of creating human beings.

mommy1web it will be YOUR job to teach them how to keep food in their mouths when they chew. How to say excuse me and please and thank you and “rock on” at all the appropriate times. How to open doors and walk through them. how to tie shoes, and better yet, how to pick out shoes that don’t need to be tied. how to not dress like orphans (we’re still working on that one, just for future reference…) How to add 2 +2, and WHY we have to learn how to add 2+2. You will indeed teach another human being how to eat, how to sleep, how to walk, how to talk, how to get on the bus to school, how to interact with friends….you will be their mommy.

and while the first three will be a breeze (HA!!!!!! oh boy…..are you in for a treat with that third one though!!!) – you will learn what motherhood REALLY means when number 4 comes along.

You will learn that nothing, absolutely nothing, prepares you for the gut-socking pain of watching your baby hooked up to tubes and monitors the first time you see her in the NICU. You will learn that everything you THOUGHT about motherhood will be swiftly shoved aside for a whole new manual called “mothering the special needs way”. This new way of mothering involves learning a whole slew of vocabulary words, and even having to do math. Math is how you will learn to count out the calories in your babies formula, when you’ve been used to just breastfeeding. Math is how you learn to count respiratory rates and add in pulse rates too (at least until a new machine comes into your house called a pulse ox, it will do those things for you.) Math is how you learn to try to stretch some very limited dollars to pay for all the new expenses associated with therapies, doctors visits, medicines and hospital stays. You hate math. You always have. But hold on – its about to become a huge part of your life.

you will learn that there’s tired, bone-weary tired, exhausted, and walking dead. You will consider good days those when you are only bone-weary tired or just plain ol’ exhausted. Being just “tired” will be a luxury that you are rarely afforded. all those nites when you used to stay up till 2 or 3 and hardly bat an eye will come in handy as you lay hands on feverish foreheads and administer meds to hacking coughing puking children. The only downside is that you will not be able to just “skip class” to make up for the lack of sleep and roll out of bed at the crack of noon. so stock up on those days and CHERISH THEM!!!!

You will learn that life rarely turns out the way you ever planned it or thought it would.

you will learn that as strong as you have always thought you were – you have no idea what strong really is. You will get glimpses of it, when you look back on a harrowing week in the hospital and your brain conjures up images you tried to ignore, of watching your baby go through horrific pains in the throes of a sickness you can’t even fathom, of helping to hold your baby down and look in her eyes and tell her you wish you could trade places with you cause you’d do it in a heartbeat, of scanning a list of lab results and going “ohhhhh {expletive}”. (and yes, as goody two shoes as you used to be about your language, expletives have become a part of your life. They are one of the few perks of mommyhood. Well –deserved expletives. I might be making that part up though…}

You will, all along this journey though, find a shared strength in the bonds you will form with your own mommy, and with friends who are on the mommy-journey with you. Both with your “regular” kids, and more essentially, when you are learning to be a mommy to a baby with “special needs”.  motherhood will begin to take on a sort of ethereal quality – and you will find one day that it is hard to separate the you you once were from the mommy you are today. It seems as if you have just always been mommy. and you will realize that this is ok with you. Oh sure, there will be times when you wish that you could go to the bathroom in peace (peace being not asked for cereal/fruit snacks/candy/gum/nail painting/ice cream/where the toothpaste is, or referreeing fights or trying to help pinpoint the exact location of some heretofore unnecessary object) – but most of the time, even when you get that much craved for privacy – your thoughts will drift towards the beautiful faces of your babies, and you will wonder if they are sleeping ok, eating enough protein, if their foreheads feel warm, if they are missing you at that moment as much as you are missing them.

you will look at pictures of the small herd of children you have procreated with your husband and you will wonder – are they really all mine??? Andspecial Ks web you will realize why you are constantly tired. You are WAY outnumbered. You look at their beautiful little faces – each so different and yet so very many similarities – and you think – I did this. I grew them within myself, giving a small part of my heart to each of them as they grew underneath it – and they each took a part of me. I have split myself into four parts and when i ask myself where “me” is, I have no further to look than these four creatures. My love of learning, my crazy self that can shake my groove thang when a mean beat comes on the radio, my desire and ability to make people laugh, and the courage and strength to keep on truckin’, even when the road seems all uphill. They are all there. They are named Kealey, Karissa, Kaylen and Kendall. I have their names tattooed on my arm, forming a bracelet – my “wonderwoman power cuff”. Because of them, and for them, i will deflect bullets – and mean words and bad people and bad days and everything else that would threaten to hurt them.

and this is why you love Mothers Day. Because it is a reminder to you – and to the you that you once were and the you will someday become – that you always were their mommy. They have always been a part of you, you just didn’t know it yet.

I love you babies. Thanks for calling me mommy~

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  1. Okay ::wiping tears from my eyes::
    that was so sweet.
    i love you, Terra, and all of your beautiful babies, too!
    happy Mothers day!!!

  2. checking in to see wazzup over there 😉 and found this incredibly beautiful letter to yourself – Terra, that is one of the most lovely descriptions of motherhood in all of its glory and pain I have ever read. WOW! Loved it, with every word read through tear-filled eyes. Hope today is a good day for you all…..