Recently, I was talking to a good friend about what we were like at 19. She got married at 19 and I was no near even thinking about getting married at 19. At the time, I figured my mid-20's would be a good time to start considering marriage but not until then. I had to get an amazing career started first. (At the time, I was pre-med.) I didn't have much interest in having children...ever. I thought the world was such a tough place to be that I wouldn't want to bring kids into it and I knew I was too selfish to want to give up so many other things just for kids. (Wow...I sound like I was a really nice person at 19. Someone who knew me then, please speak up and say I had some good qualities somewhere.)
I'm not sure exactly when the change started to happen but sometime around 2002, I knew I was going to have children. (Yes, plural.) I knew that, sometime, somehow, I would have a family of my own. It still scared me a lot - being an only child, I'd never cared for a younger sibling and I never babysat very much when I was a teenager. Plus, there was the whole matter of finding a husband who could make up for all my shortcomings in those areas. Then in 2004, as a missionary, I served in the Chesterfield area of the Virginia Richmond Mission. One of the family's in our congregation had two little girls, Jasmine and Madeline. I loved these girls so much and they seemed to genuinely like me too. Playing with them made me realize that I really wanted to have kids. I wanted to feel that direct-from-heaven feeling that you can only have when a child hugs you and puts their head under your chin. I have a picture of Jasmine and Madeline with their mom hanging in my house and every time I see it, I think, "Yes...that's when I decided I wanted to have kids."
I absolutely love being a mom. I didn't really think I would - that whole selfish, only child thing coming out. It is by far the hardest thing I have ever done but the rewards are more than any other glory or honor I could receive. Remember, how I mentioned that I have amazing siblings-in-law? Gregory, wrote an extremely sweet post honoring his mom. It includes a ridiculously extensive list of memories and it just made me think, "That is all a mom really wants." The added thank you and sweet words from Greg, I'm sure increased the Kleenex-count but just the fact that he can remember all those things makes all the sacrifice worth it.
A couple of weeks ago, I got the chance to see my dear friend, Dianna. We were discussing how lucky we are to be moms. One day, we were (somewhat) young, single folks and just trying to get through things then the next thing you know, we are both married to amazing men and are mom's. I have "pinch me" moments all the time. Really? This is my life? There are so many women who are much more "qualified" for this than I am. Really? I get to have these amazing little boys as my sons and this fantastic man as my husband? I don't really know what I did to deserve it and I figure I used up all my good luck when I won the trip to Costa Rica. I truly feel blessed beyond anything I could have imagined and strive to never take my good fortune for granted.