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The Biggest Surprise of Motherhood

hands585Life changed forever the day we brought my son home. In fact, every day seems different. There’s a new behavior or word that will throw me for a loop. There are more and more piles to clean and books to read. No day is the same, but every day is fun. Many mamas told me how my life would change and how I’ll never sleep again. I was not at all shocked by this from our newborn stage to our current teething stage — I accept I won’t sleep for MANY more years. I always knew life would be different; I just didn’t realize life could get any better than it already was.

This weekend at a wedding, someone asked me what the biggest surprise was to becoming a parent. She stopped me in my tracks with the question. I really didn’t have an answer; I fell silent. I told her I’d have to get back to her and mentioned this site. I told her that I wasn’t sure, but that I would write about it. I’ve spent a lot of time thinking back to her question. There are a lot of things I’m drawn to responding with, but nothing surprised me more than the everyday fears of something happening to Evan that I began to feel the moment he was placed on my chest.

Sometimes I wonder, is our world getting more scary or am I becoming more aware? There are events in our day-to-day news that absolutely petrify me for Evan. I feel this undeniable need to protect and keep his innocence safe as long as I can. Never in my life would I have imagined this feeling that stands beside me every waking minute to fill me up the way it does. I prepared for the lack of sleep and long nights. I prepared for the boo-boos by getting just the right first-aid kit. I prepared for the growth spurts, wardrobe changes and everyday household safety. What I can’t prepare for are the things in this world that aren’t in my control.

So, yes — the biggest surprise of motherhood for me is just how scary being a mama is and how the feeling of protecting my son consumes my every thought. No matter how big or little the protection needs to be, it plays a big role in my everyday decisions. I accept, or at least am learning to accept, that I cannot control everything. What I recognize is that sitting on this fear will not benefit either one of us, but educating Evan on doing good is the best preparation I can provide.

There is no love bigger, stronger or greater than a mom’s love for her child. Nothing compares, nothing comes close. Just that initial love, a love so strong and so consuming that cannot be expressed. That love, that alone is the best surprise I’ve ever received in my life.

What surprised you the most about becoming a parent? —Jennifer

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