All I ever wanted was to be a mom.
I can still remember the drawing contest we had when I was in fifth grade.
We had to draw a picture of what we wanted to be when we grew up.
And there, proudly posted on the wall amid hairstylists and rocket scientists,
hung my picture of a woman balancing a phone on her shoulder, cooking dinner, and holding a baby with a toddler crying at her feet.
In Junior High, during a career orientation class, I stated that I just wanted to be a mother.
I was determined to prove the teacher wrong when she stated that "in today's world, that just isn't possible."
|With my youngest brother|
In high school there were few things more important to me than grades and maintaining that 4.0.
But recruitment letters from ivy league colleges never had much appeal to me and were tossed in the trash without much thought.
While others with the same ambition in school set lofty career goals,
dreams of wildflower bouquets from Mr. Right and ice cream cones with my children filled my head.
During my senior year, my parents took a long-awaited trip to Hawaii
and I got to play "Mom" for a week...
packing lunches and grocery shopping accompanied my usual teenage tasks,
and my desire to be a mother was only more solidified in my mind.
It's always been my dream.
|23 weeks along!|
I was delighted and surprised when, despite my empty track record of dates in high school
and those lonely nights at home while my classmates went to homecoming and prom,
I met my husband just before my nineteenth birthday and we were married just over 6 months later.
A few weeks before our wedding we talked it over and determined that we didn't want to wait to have children.
We were ready to start down the road of parenthood.
And just 9 1/2 months after our wedding, our first son was born.
|Moments after birth|
I was confident as a new bride and young mom.
Insecurities about my ability to mother were largely absent as I took on my new role.
I mean, come on!
I was the 4th of 7 children, and my youngest sibling was born when I was 11...
I grew up witnessing first-hand and taking part in child-rearing.
I cooked dinner for my large family once per week as I grew, and I was taught the arts of sewing, canning food, cleaning, gardening, and more.
I babysat countless times.
I took every child development course I possibly could in high school and was state certified in all of them, and I even worked at the high school daycare and was president of the FCCLA chapter.
I took child development and parenting courses during college.
Sam and I had numerous discussions about parenting...even our honeymoon was filled with talk of parenting philosophies!
The day after we were married we sat down and drafted a document entitled "The Brady Family Constitution" wherein we set goals for our new family.
And for the first year or so of our new baby's life, almost every single Family Home Evening lesson was intentionally geared toward various aspects of parenting.
We were ready!
I was ready!
|Our first at about 6 months|
And for those first couple of years, I still naively thought I was fully prepared for motherhood.
Oh, sure, we had our issues...our new son had difficult feeding issues, and about 4 months after his birth he determined that sleep was greatly overrated.
He got into mischief and enjoyed pushing the limits as he neared age 2.
But I was certain that our parenting was yielding this brilliant, adorable, social, securely attached child,
and our ideals were coming to fruition.
But as he began to gain more independence and we added one and then two more boys to our family,
I started to learn something really important.
I may have been fully prepared to be a mother...
but I was prepared very little to be Talmage's mother
and Wesley's mother
and Lincoln's mother.
And each of them has had difficulties that have caused us to recognize our own weaknesses and turn to God with humility, recognizing that we can't be fully successful on our own.
So while I'm still grateful for the experiences I had that helped prepare me to be a mother,
I am even more grateful for the truths I was taught
that led me to turn to my Father in Heaven for inspiration and help throughout my life.
I am grateful that He humbled me early on by showing me my weaknesses
and teaching me the necessity of relying on Him to raise His children here on Earth.
I am grateful for the challenges of motherhood that allow me to taste such sweet joys.
And it's still my dream come true.