I was 16 years old when 1/5 was born. I turned 17 a few weeks later. Wow…I’ve been a MOM for a long time! Sitting here, thinking about that time in my life, can be very overwhelming. The emotions of being a teenager are enough on their own, then add in the feelings of being a teenager who is pregnant and alone. I wasn’t REALLY alone, and if it weren’t for the village who was raising me, I would not have made it through that time. I’ll never forget what my heart felt when he was born. I was excited to meet the little one who was growing inside of me, terrified to be a mother, and I honestly didn’t understand what that meant at that time, but what can you do? Babies happen, you can’t stop the growing baby and when its time, there is no delay. Boom, they are here. There are no instructions, it’s just a “fly by the seat of your pants and takes the advice of elders” kind of thing.
As I sit here on Mother’s Day, I think about all of the amazing women in my life who have been mothers to me through the years. Of course, my Mum, my Grandmothers, my Aunt, my friends all wove threads of wisdom into who I am today.
I struggle with my past at times. I didn’t live my best life, and I made so many bad choices. It’s the cross I bear daily, and it doesn’t matter how many people tell me, “you’re too hard on yourself,” it’s still my burden. I look at the “biggers” all the time and think about how truly amazing they all are. They are adults now (well, 3/5 is almost an adult). They are kind, patient, and live good lives. I had to have some sort of influence in that, right? Yes, I did, and despite the bad choices I made, the wrong paths I went down, God protected my children. In my selfish decisions, God kept them with a loving father who was able to care for them entirely. I can’t express how much I appreciate that through my wayward path, he didn’t berate or bash me to the children. I failed them as a mother, and I failed as a wife. I lived a selfish life that wasn’t focused on anything other than myself. I was so buried in my selfishness that I got divorced, then married someone I shouldn’t have married and ended up divorced again. I was so blind to what I was doing. Yet my children still loved me, cared for me. I realize now; it was their unwavering love for me that tolerated my bad choices because I am their mother. Even when I didn’t love myself, they loved me. I can never change my past, but I can learn from it. I hope to be a better mom now.
Better Mom…Take 2…ACTION
I am divorced twice, why on earth date again. Oh, but this time, I had “rules.” Ask some of my closest friends about my “Rules for Dating.” The one that has them laugh the most was the “not dating anyone with kids” rule. Followed closely by “not dating anyone younger than me.” -The old Yiddish proverb says, “We plan…God laughs”
Enter the Bearded One
Never expected him, wasn’t prepared for him, and yet, here we are! 4/5 and 5/5 are two new joys in my life. I am their bonus mom, and they are my bonus children. From day one of meeting them, I loved them. I can’t express the energy the littlest one has. She could run a marathon fueled by sass and attitude. 4/5 is inquisitive and wants nothing more than to please his parents. He is his father through and through. You can see the mind working trying to figure things out. He’s logical and so intelligent.
In January, we took full-time custody of the “littles.” Of course, many of the first thoughts were, What am I doing? How on earth can I do this again? How can we do this? I’m not good enough to do this again. Doubt indeed filled my heart. Honestly, it wasn’t what I was prepared for, but if I have learned one thing over the years, its that even if I’m scared, I still have to move forward. So we did. My schedule changed; our routine changed; everything changed. In a blink of an eye, five months into full-time parenting, I think we’re doing pretty well. It hasn’t been sunshine and rainbows. The first month was absolute hell. Sleepless nights, fights, tantrums, there were many times I wanted just to curl into a ball and cry (oh wait, I did). We made it through the transition. Of course, just when we finally get adjusted to routine… a small pandemic, homeschooling, stay-at-home, work remotely thing happened to shake things up a bit. Why not. Some days I hate being a kindergarten teacher. Some days I can’t stand the bickering. Some days I just want to be alone. Does that make me a bad mom? It sure makes me feel like it at that moment, but no, I’m not a bad mom. Every day I hope that I am a better mom than I was yesterday. Being Mom, Mum, Mommy, Nicole is a significant part of who I am, and I want nothing more than to be the best for them, even if it’s on my worst days.
It’s an exciting dynamic having “Biggers” and “Littles.” My children are grown; we have the things that we’ve brought into this extended family that are unique to us. The “Biggers” don’t have to consider the “Littles” their siblings, but they do. It truly makes me happy to see them all together, on those rare occasions that it happens. I am a mother in so many capacities. I’m the mom of grown adult men, a far-away mom to my daughter, and all hands on deck bonus mom to two little children who didn’t have much structure or direction in their lives. I am grateful and truly blessed to be here for them in every capacity.
Happy Mother’s Day to all of you! I hope that you are taking today to think about how amazing you are! I made myself a promise to stop being so hard on myself. I have to realize that I am a great mom because God created me in His image, and with him, I will not fail. It’s time to reflect on all the women who helped create the woman I am today. All I can do is hope that I am a good influence and example to my daughters and Future daughters in law.