Ask my mother about me when I was a teenager; she’ll scoff, laugh, and make a face that says, “Don’t even get me started.” Looking back, I sure feel bad for her having to deal with a maniac like me–smoking cigarettes at 12, stealing 20’s from my dad’s wallet and blaming my younger sister, coming home drunk and stoned at 15.


By the time I reached my late teens, many of my young friends already had children. Some married young, many, like the majority of things in life, weren’t planned. I remember my friend Jill and I teaching her girlfriend Mandie’s then-toddler daughter how to say “shit.” Let me tell you, if someone was deliberately teaching my son swear words, I’d drag them outside by their hair and never speak to them again, wanting nothing to do with a jerk like that. But we were immature and thought it was harmless and funny at the time. (Public apology, Mandie. I am sorry. Permission to punch me in the arm tomorrow when you come to Christmas at my parent’s house.)


When I was in college, a lot of my friend’s kids were headed off to kindergarten. I distinctly remember an old friend, (who, like the majority of my old friends, I’ve since grown apart) telling me that she took the day off of work to see her daughter off to school. I mockingly asked her in a whiny voice, “Did you CRY when she got on the bus?” She laughed and said that she did. I chortled in jest of her then-seemingly silly tears. “Wimp,” I said, rolling my eyes.


The rest of my 20’s were a frenzied blur, the early years being heavily drowned in alcohol and the latter filled with wedding planning, house hunting and what would surely be abundant fertility and baby bliss. I had spent my entire life up until that point never feeling very maternal; in fact, I had been the anti-mom in some cases. Up until that point, I had opened myself up to the world and all the experiences that came with it, so the way I figured it, allowing the wild woman I had been to become domesticated should be the easiest thing I had ever done. Having a child, now that I actually wanted one, that’ll be a breeze.


But pregnancy, much like a sudden breeze, can sweep you up in its swirling flow of beauty–and just as you close your eyes to bask in it…it’s gone. And there you’re left, two miscarriages later and childless, wondering if this is payback for all those things you did or said in the past. Wondering if the universe was watching you all along and no matter what you did, the cards were dealt long before you even sat down at the game. 


My toddler son is not feeling well on this, his third Christmas. He asked to be held often today and gave it a real effort in acting like he wasn’t sick. When I put him to bed tonight, I asked if I could lay with him in his racecar bed and snuggle with him. He said, “Of course you can.” And as his hand, warm with fever, felt around, looking for my hand to hold as he drifted off to a breezy dreamland,  I felt tears welling up in my eyes. I sighed as he drew near for a Christmas snuggle with his mama, his baby brother stirring in the room next door, his projector night light filling the walls with hundreds of stars. And under the vastness of the Universe that chose me to be the mother of these children in previous measures of time unimaginable to the human mind, I hold on tightly to the moment, and the next moment, and the one after that…until one day, I look back on these moments of time that have been strung together to form the days, weeks, and years that will lead up to a particular day–when my sons turn back from the school bus, just for a fleeting moment, to smile and wave goodbye to their mama, who, like all those mamas before her, will be reduced to tears, while a school bus of high school girls laugh at her silliness as they pass by.