When I was in high school, I used to stress every time they asked the question; what are you going to go study in college? I’d heard the same question my whole life; What are you going to be when you grow up?
It had been a long list of maybes since I was little. I wanted to be a garbage truck driver, a singer, an animal rescuer, Tara Lipinski, a zoologist, a counselor, an artist, or a nurse. I wanted to be a writer or own a coffee shop. I wanted to be a rockstar or a comedian or a traveling doctor. Deep down, I really believed the sky was the limit. I could be an astronaut if I wanted, but Apollo 13 made me feel like I probably didn’t. I thought it would be cool to be the first woman president, but I didn’t care much for politics.
It’s been sixteen years now since I graduated high school. I don’t have awards hanging on my wall or a hefty savings or a fancy job. I don’t have any degree, I’m not a counselor or a zoologist. I haven’t traveled with the Red Cross or published a book (yet), but twelve years ago I became a mom.
Twelve years ago I chose to be a mom when I grow up. I would be other things too, but I’d always (first and foremost) be your mom.
The days were long; the nights were longer. They were sleepless and groggy. They were carrying on blindly with the fumes of energy I used to have. They were rocking and nursing, and kissing soft wet foreheads. They were feeling temperatures and worrying every time you got sick. They were losing all of myself (all of it), and slowly finding myself again. I’ve never worked harder for anything in my life, and I’ve never loved anything more.
The years have slipped through my fingers like water. I try to make time slow down, but I can’t. You’ve gone from baby in my arms, to toddler on my hip, to an opinionated big kid, to someone who is becoming your own person. Someday, far before I’m ready, you’ll go out to conquer your own battles and live your own dreams.
Today our days are full of chaos. They’re full of meals and messes and rushing to practice. They’re full of laughing one minute and arguing the next. The nights aren’t that long any more, and the days seem to fly by faster as the years go on. I’ve never worked harder, and I’ve never loved anything more.
You are the best thing I’ve ever done. When I look in your eyes, when you tell me about your day, when you laugh at your own jokes…my whole world stops for a second. Even if I realized every single one of my childhood dreams, even if I was a rockstar- gymnast-writer who rescued baby otters, it would pale in comparison to the honor of being your mom.
Someday maybe (hopefully), I’ll have an impressive savings. Someday maybe I’ll write books and I’ll have checked many things off of my list of goals, but I want you to know something: nothing, not one thing, will ever make me prouder than being mom to you.
When I grow up I’m going to be a mom. I’ll be other things too; lots of other things. But above all things, I am your mom.
Jess is mom to four wild ones. She runs off of caffeine (like actually lives off of it). She mostly sweeps up cereal and dog hair, but in her free time she writes on Wonderoak, Facebook, and Insta. Her work has been featured on Motherly, Today Parents, Huffington Post, Her View from Home, Scary Mommy, Love What Matters, and more.