This weekend I learned a couple of valuable lessons. The moral of the story is...becoming a mother has changed me. And although I knew this was going to happen, I didn't expect it to be such a strong change or such a fast change.
Let me explain.
On Thursday night I received the news that one of my former students passed away suddenly. It was a huge blow. This young lady, may she rest peacefully in her Heavenly Father's arms now, was the sweetest young lady. Quick story...when Drew and I got engaged it was my first day meeting her (first day of school at my new school). From that day on she refused to call me Miss Ryerson and only called me Mrs. Taylor. I think she was more excited about our wedding than I was! Every paper she turned in she wrote "Mrs. Taylor's English Class" at the top. Every day she greeted me (and everyone else she knew) as though I was the most important person ever, "Mrs. Taylor! What up! I missed you!" Always. With a huge high five, bring-it-in-old-buddy kind of hug hug. And to know that I would never hear that again was devastating. Immediately I prayed for peace and healing for her family. But, as I laid down to bed that night I couldn't help but put myself in her mother's shoes. What in the world would I do if we suddenly lost Jaylen?! That momma lost her baby, and I now have a baby, and I cannot wrap my head around that momma's pain and suffering. It was a whole new kind of grief that I was experiencing, and for the first time.
Then Friday hits. And it's my first official "Mommy's Day Off" with my dear friends. I was so stoked. I couldn't wait to leave the house, float in the pool, bask in the sun, and just have me time with the girls. But wouldn't you know it...as soon as Drew loaded him up and put him in the car as they set off for their Daddy Son Day, tears were falling down my face. Why? He's in the care of his perfectly capable father. And they are going to spend time with Grammy, Papa, Auntie and cousins. Why am I freaking out? Why am I crying? Again, a feeling (I still don't know exactly what the feeling was) that I was experiencing for the first time.
Fast forward to Friday evening. Girls day is still going on and we decide to go grab a bite to eat. The first real restaurant experience I have had since March. A little nervous, but knowing I'm having a good time and with the ones I love, we walk in and order a drink. Not 5 minutes later I feel the room closing in around me. Breathing is getting a bit harder. And the palms of my hands and my forehead are dripping with sweat. I had to find an exit. Now. I couldn't sit inside a restaurant watching people without masks, calmly eating their meals, minding their own business. I felt in danger. Immediate danger. Danger that I would catch this lovely virus that's taken so much from us, and would bring it home to my husband and child. Danger that myself, my husband, or my child wouldn't be able to fight it and it would be all my fault. I. Felt. Crazy. For the first time, I felt an anxiety about being out in public.
Having a son has changed the way I grieved, has stirred up new emotions I cannot even put into words, and has created fears that I didn't ever have before. Friends told me this was going to happen. But, I just didn't get it. Maybe I'm just dumb, but I truly didn't think I would be "that" mom.
And can I tell you, honestly, that after wrestling with this for three days I am completely fine being "that" mom. And I strongly support all of "those" moms out there. I never understood the love a child can bring into your heart. And when you feel this kind of love you just don't ever want to lose it. And then I realized...
THIS is the love that our Heavenly Father has for us.
This love that makes you feel completely insane at times.
This love that no matter what, He doesn't want to lose us.
This love that makes you want to be a better you physically, emotionally, spiritually and mentally.
This is it.
Now, for you Bible scholars, I understand that this love is not the EXACT love because we cannot love perfectly like our Heavenly Father can. But it's such a real example of it. It took me right back to the verse that Drew and I build our marriage upon. We love because He first loved us. (1 John 4:19). I can love my son to crazy depths because I have been so loved by my Creator. And for that I am beyond thankful.
So moms. Be "that" mom. Be the mom who cries too much (I'll bring the tissues). Be the mom who makes decisions because you love you children more than you can ever put into words. Be the mom who is emotional and is ok with admitting that you don't know why. Be the mom who surrounds yourself with girlfriends who love you enough to see through your crazy moments (thank God for my tribe). Be "that" mom that you were created to be.
I'll hold your hand through it, if you promise to hold mine!