I can’t say with certainty that I remember this day like it was yesterday. In fact, it feels more like years or really bits and moments in a time somewhere far, far away (like a Star Wars saga..this is for my son you see), but it resonates.
I was fully prepped with the “what to expect” books and the lamaze classes, but I don’t think... no, I know... it didn’t prepare me for what I was about to embark on... in labor and later in junior high school.
Honestly I remember the great support my husband gave me; he was fully in-tuned to what I was experiencing, but I didn’t really comprehend. He had been through it before, having a son from a previous relationship. And he was masterful with support and emotion and keeping a running journal of the experience.
I was completely naive. My son (though I didn’t know he would be a “son” at that point) was due on January 3, 2000... the millenium child. Everyone assured me that the first child would be late.
Apparently he and I didn’t get that memo. So after barely making it through that Christmas without a legendary outburst, I figured I had a few days to chill.
On December 27th I decided to take one of my best girl friends for ice cream sundaes. Seemed legitimate at the time.
Fast-forward 24 hours and I’m eating the "half-off sale" peanut M&M’s so temptingly offered at my local drug store.
I feel a sudden “wetness” in my flannel pj bottoms. My immediate thought: “Wow that’s really gnarly Tara; better go change your pants.”
Back to the M&M’s. Suddenly more “wetness.” Now I call my mother. She calmly informed me that my water broke and that I should call my husband asap. Good enough.
Several hours later, amidst a flurry of visitors (my parents, his parents, etc.) and one epidural barely making the cut-off point, my son was born. When they put him on my chest for the first time I thought to myself “Really is this mine?” and proceeded to freak out. I could go into many a story of my foibles with motherhood, but the truth is he turned out fantastic.
My son is 12 now. I am still freaked out. Maybe even more. What matters most to me (and keeps me up at night) is that I am responsible for him. Whatever choices and whatever actions he makes over the next, oh I don’t know, foreseeable years will come back to haunt me -- if I haven’t served him well.
The other side of the coin is that being a mom has literally been the best experience/job I've ever had. I was always the "I don't want kids, (college girl talking) I want to pursue a career" person. I did in fact do that. I did it enough to realize that being a mother didn't preclude me from pursuing my dreams -- it only motivated me more.
Upon reflection the best part of being his mom is just that: being his mom. Of course there have been arguments, missteps along the way, and also belly-busting laughter, (I can't believe how awesome he is sometimes) but most endearing to me: I’m his mom and no one else can say that.
More importantly no one else hears: “I love you mom” from him...because we are connected in that most intimate way for life. There's no "ownership" just love. And let's face it: no one can watch The Regular Show with him or laugh at fart jokes with him like I do -- sorry mom (this is probably not what you want to hear -- that I act like a 12-year-old sometimes.)
Tara Weng is the national editor of parenting and health for GalTime. She is also a media consultant with a focus on medical and consumer topics. Her professional experience includes a stint as a medical/features producer at the NBC affiliate in Boston, MA and a media relations position at a top teaching hospital in Boston. Tara has also done public relations consulting work and has written for several online and print media outlets. She is a wife and a mother to two children (who are fantastic) and an enthusiastic New England sports fan.