I am Me because of Her

Hannah sat at the dinner table tonight quietly eating her salad and perogies. (Honestly, I could stop my blog post right there since this healthy, wellrounded dinner is a first and an event in itself…).  She appeared deep in thought. Staring down at her plate as she ate, not chit chatting as she normally does throughout a meal.  Suddenly, she put her fork down and looked at me and said, “If I was not me, you would not be you.”

I thought for a moment.  Not sure how to respond as I wasn’t sure how literal I should take her comment. Often she makes these statements that must make sense inside her own little head, but they are so obscure, they make little sense to anyone else.  Like earlier today when she told me that there never is a tomorrow because when it becomes “tomorrow” it is then “today”.  Which if I think hard enough about, I can see what she’s getting at, but my brain REALLY hurts.

I digress.

I decided to assume Hannah simply meant that if she was not around, I would not be a mom, and therefore, would not be the same kind of person that I am today. (I’d instead be the carefree, well dressed, gym-toned, manicured, showered, money making woman I ONCE was).

So I said nonchalantly, “That’s right Hannah.  If you weren’t here I wouldn’t be a mom.”

“NO mommy!  That’s not what I meant!” she lamented.

She went on to eloquently say that if she were someone else, I’d also be someone else since I’d have another child who would make me different.

And with that, she ran off, grabbed herself a FudgeTickle and left the room.

But I sat. And pondered. And wondered what had just gone on in her head as she nibbled on her lettuce, cucumber, raisin and carrot salad and potato filled pasta.  Was she thinking what the world would be like without her in it?  Was she imagining her seat at the dinner table being occupied by another little girl?  One maybe with blonde hair, small green eyes, a shy demeanor, and few words?  I tried to recall any conversations we may have had that would have sparked these thoughts about her place in the world and in our family and how she effects me.

Nothing.  It was just another thought stream that fills her busy mind and keeps her up at night (and quiet at the dinner table).

But, she’s so right (once again).  I most definitely would NOT be me, if she was not her.  Every ounce of her makes me who I am.  I didn’t even know I had so many sides, so many facets of myself until she was born. I had yet to discover many of my passions or find my true voice until I had a reason to use them. Who I was, the core of me changed in an instant.

Because Before

Being patient only applied to waiting in line.

Being considerate meant returning a phone call.

Being organized meant neatly stacking a pile of papers.

Being protective meant holding an umbrella for a friend in the rain.

Being aware meant knowing when it was time for a drink of wine.

Being passionate applied to my career. And my hobbies.

Craving alone time didn’t exist.  Being alone made me lonely.

Being in love was never this deep.

And at the same time,

Being worried meant not wanting to speak in front of a large crowd.

Being tired meant getting up at 5:00 for a Step class.

Being cranky only effected Tim.

Yelling meant I screamed at the dog for peeing in the house.

I was allowed to be lazy.

No one got hurt if I turned my back for a moment.

No one looked for me when I was missing.  No one cried if I went out to dinner. No one needed my lap, my arms, my heart and my head all at once and all the time.

She keeps me on my feet.  She keeps me laughing until I cry.  And crying until I laugh.  She keeps me guessing. And second guessing. She makes me think.  And rethink.

And now, with THIS girl, I am Me.  I have no idea what I’d be like with another child.  But I do know this Me would be missing something.  It just wouldn’t know what it was.

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21 Comments

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21 responses to “I am Me because of Her

  1. Awesome. Aren’t they amazing?

  2. What a thoughtful, powerful statement. I truly am now who I was supposed to be because of the children I birthed and have cared for.

    And once again, you are right. In that instant that we find out they are on their way, our lives change. We change. Our perspectives change.

    How blessed we are to be a part of these extraordinary lives!

  3. She’s such an incredibly thoughtful little girl!

  4. Sniff. I think Hannah is one great kid. The stuff she says is hilarious and thoughtful all at once.

    I’m so thankful for the people our kids help us become. Personally, I like parent-me way better than well-rested-money-making-life having-me.

  5. I love how an innocent comment from a child can make you stop and think, and take stock of your life. They are just amazing like that.

    And your daughter is right on. I wouldn’t be the same ME without my son.

  6. Oh Becca, I think of this often, actually. Truly, I do. Maybe because my first was such a surprise, and I wasn’t sure if I wanted to become anyone else when I found out I was pregnant–and knew, of course, that I would. But maybe because I love the fact that he up and surprised us and I can’t see another ME without him. And you are right…not just without CHILDREN, in general, but without HIM.

    Love this post. Your writing is like a song with an amazing crescendo…keeps gaining passion and poise all the time.

  7. Everyday the words they say take me by surprise and those moments allow me to reflect on who I was and what I have become.

    Thanks for sharing.

  8. Wonderful! It’s such a passionate dance, this parenting thing.

  9. Nicki

    Children have such beautiful minds. H is so wise.

  10. Pop

    Leave it to kids to say something poignant and run off w/ their fudgetickle and leave you alone with your thoughts!

    Beautifully written post. I know I wouldn’t be who I am today (tired) if it wasn’t for her (my newborn). 😛 But really, I thought I changed a lot after I got married – become less of a slob, talk during meals, etc…but being a dad has changed who I am. I’m not sure how I would be different if I wasn’t a father, but frankly, I don’t care b/c I know my daughters have made me a better man.

  11. Isn’t being a mom great? Such a thoughtful post… and much better than what my 6 year old says. I get winners like, “If you were a martian, would your boogers taste the same?” I’m glad she brings out the reflective side of you, since we definitely need some perspective to remember why we do this.

  12. They surprise you with their insight sometimes, don’t they? And I smiled reading your list–oh yes, I remember being tired by that 5am step class, too.

  13. I’ve thought of how different I would be if I somehow had different kids. Or no kids. The thought terrifies me, because I love my kids, but when it comes down to it I am the person I am because of them. And I wouldn’t change a thing, even on our worst days.

  14. joy

    This is great. I think our girls could talk for hours pondering questions that have never even entered my mind…

  15. Wow! She sounds really smart!

  16. Every time I read one of your posts I literally devour it. I heart you, and your thoughts and your words. This is a wake up call for me, one I need to be constantly reminded of. I miss those parts of myself, those pre-children parts, but not nearly, not even a little bit close to how much I would miss my mommy parts.

    And you my dear are hawt!! Look at you in that picture. We can’t meet now. I’m sorry. You are too good looking 🙂

  17. Rick pinto

    Nice blog but how’s my pool?

  18. Hannah must get her contemplative reflections from you 🙂 She really is a wise little girl. It scares me a bit that kids are “so old” at such a young age, that it won’t be long before I have to answer hard questions and ponder the meaning in my daughter’s remarks.

    However, reading your responses to Hannah is usually a great cheat sheet. Please keep ’em coming 🙂

  19. What a smart, intense little girl you are shaping. She’s completely right. And imagine if she had a different woman to work with … no good! She got you for a reason.

  20. This is beautiful. And not just the part about her eating salad. Salad! Can you loan her out to teach my kids?? Seriously, though, each child is such an individual who shapes us in ways we never could have imagined. Hugs to you and your sweet Hannah.

  21. Rachel

    I AM CRYING!!! This is totally me and mine. Amazing. I love this 🙂

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