Prior to having my son, I was an inherently selfish individual. I couldn’t imagine sharing my time or space with anyone that wasn’t able to articulate a conversation, pay for dinner or argue with me on the latest plight of black folks. I was determined and single-minded in my focus to climb the corporate ladder and leave the chaos of parenting to folks better equipped to handle it. I craved travel and per diems and detested dirty diapers and incessant crying.
I was single minded and single focused on what I wanted and children were not part of that plan. Children reminded me of bondage and captivity. I would be tied to this one individual for the rest of their life. Melodramatic? Possibly, but I have a great excuse…I was a product of a broken home.
A broken home where I watched love between a husband and wife being played out like a bad soap opera. Marriage sucked and I didn’t want to do it. Having to raise my brother and sister while my mom worked left me resenting children because I was giving up my childhood caring for someone else’s kids. It’s true, but I told you that I was selfish right?
The other day, Munch and I were having a disagreement about breakfast and his food choices. He got mad because I replied, “Munch, we’ve talked about this back and forth debate when I tell you that is enough. You need to stop trying to argue. Why are you continuing to try and plead your case? The discussion is over.” He got mad at me and sat silently on the edge of his bed with tears rolling down his face. I went over to him and said, “Munch, I love you.” He shook his head in reply. I repeated, “Munch, I love you.” He shook his head again. I said, “Munch, the things about mommies is that sometimes we will make you feel sad because we will tell you things that you don’t want to hear, but we still love you. You should never not tell me you love me because I will never stop telling you that I love you. Do you understand?”
He looked at me and smiled through his tears and shook his head. I repeated, “Munch, I love you.” He responded, “I love you too Mommy.” My heart swelled and I leaned down to kiss him. I started reliving the moments of his birth, his first laugh, his first word and the first time he walked. I was reminded of how he’s changed me by just being him. It is in his smile that I feel invincible. It is in his tears that I feel vulnerable. And it is in his laugh that I feel valuable. I am his mom. He is my son. No greater bond. He shapes my views each day with random thoughts, quirks or observations about the world. He challenges my position on things by asking the basic question…why mommy?
I no longer feel like I missed out on something because I’m a mom. I don’t cry because I can’t get to the latest party or concert because I’m on mommy duty. I don’t care that I don’t have a job that takes me on business travel. I embrace the fact that motherhood has changed me. I honor and accept it because he’s changed me. He has allowed me to lead, guide, shape and mold his identity. I don’t need hookah or late nights, I need story time and hugs and kisses because I’m a better person with him than without him.