I always thought motherhood was teaching your children about the ins and outs of life.
We teach them to walk, talk, and be functional humans. Or that’s the goal. Through their trials, we help encourage them to become better people and learn from what life hands them.
My unconventional start to motherhood sort of took that away from me. I learned so much from Jensen and his death that I would have never imagined. With Mila, I thought it’d be me doing all the teaching, not the learning. In many ways, being her mom has surprised me.
As much as I’ve taught her and helped encourage her to become the sassy three year old that she’s become, she’s made me into a whole new person.
With Bereaved Mother’s Day and Mother’s Day coming up the next two weekends, I’ve been thinking a lot about my motherhood. Jensen has taught me so much about love and living fully. I’ve talked about it extensively through this outlet. This morning, as Mila hugged me not to go, all the lessons she’s taught me have flooded my head.
Here’s just a few.
One thing Mila did not get from me is anxiety. She is the most steady person I know and it’s a beautiful combination with us two.
When she needs comforted, I’m there for her. I never thought kids could do the same thing. Yet, anytime I’m upset, she comes over and just says, ‘it’s okay.’ Then she’ll shush me and just give me a tight squeeze. This act of hers has taught me so much about patience and realizing the moment will go away.
Anytime I’m feeling stressed when she’s not around, I remember her sweet voice and that seems to help make a lot of things feel okay.
Laugh at the little things.
All I have to do is give our dog a certain look and Mila laughs wildly.
Mila’s taught me not to take life so seriously. After Jensen died, it was hard to laugh freely. With her, she just demands humor and lightness. She’ll do things just to make other people laugh. Or when she’s upset, I know if she laughs once, she’ll be much better.
The mix of seriousness and lightness has balanced out the last three years. She’ll always be the one who giggles at the the little things. I’m happy for that.
Just be you.
In a world where social media dominates, it’s hard to just be yourself. Influencers and the media try to sway us constantly, but Mila has taught me the opposite.
She doesn’t understand advertisements and social media yet, but she’s the opposite force. When I look at her, I see so much uniqueness and individuality, I would never want her to be like anyone else. Just herself. I reflect on that often and encourage her to do follow her ways.
Then, I think about how I can apply that to myself and others around me. I want those that I love (and beyond) to just be them. For me, I just want to be me. There’s not code to follow or correct way to live. The most beautiful person we can be is just ourselves.
Every time I look at her, I’m reminded of that.
Live in the moment.
Mila has taught me to see the world completely differently.
The main way is to live in the moment. I can have 100 things planned out, but she pulls me into the present like no other. It’s funny because I could be doing work and she says, “watch me.” Sometimes I tell her to wait, but then I realize, I can never get this moment back with her. So, we pretend and play and just live.
Work will always be there and it gets done, just a little bit later.
We’re in this together.
I know moms, even myself, complain about never having any alone time. It’s exhausting, so of course Mila and I are in this together.
But, that’s not what I mean.
At three, I have such serious conversations about what she wants for our life too. We decide on where we want to go or what we want to eat. We’ve talked about different vacations or what plants to buy too.
It sounds silly since she’s three, but this is her life and childhood too. Together, we have to make it the very best it can be. When she’s happy, I am too.
We’re in this life and growing together.
The one thing children bring unconditionally is love.
Love, love, love.
I love Jensen and Mila more than anything. Mila has physically showed me how kids love outwardly. It isn’t in the moments everyone sees or knows about. Even though she’s in a “I like you” stage, she always nods her head when I say, “do you mean love?” back to her.
Love isn’t in her words though. It’s in the hugs where she tells me it’s going to be okay, her laughter that fills the room, and the fruit snacks and juice she brings to bed for us.
She’s taught me how love can glue back a broken heart and even leave space for more.
In these three years, sometimes I get confused about who’s taking care of who. As much as I help her grow, she helps me grow too. I love being her and Jensen’s mom.
What big life lessons have your children taught you?