Friday, July 13, 2012

The moments that make me know I am a mother

Recently I've had a few moments that have made me stop and realize...I am a Mother.

Which may seem weird, seeing as how I gave birth to two children over 2 years ago.

Perhaps a better way to put it is I've had encounters that have shown me, in my soul, I am different than I ever was before. I am forever changed.

Why is this just now occurring to me?

The truth is sometimes I get so lost in the minutiae of refilling sippy cups, changing diapers, and reminding Little Ones to share, that I don't really reflect on where or whom I am. It all just is a part of my "new" daily routine that I catch myself wondering if I really am different or if this is just the Old Kendra in a new reality. One might think that because my days include so much time in the trenches that the fact that I am a Mother would be ingrained in me. And in some ways it is. But in many other ways, I feel like the pre-kid Kendra who is just struggling with trying to identify herself. Trying to reconcile the old self to the current life. Daily struggling with the reality of the incredible amount of selflessness that parenting requires.

Often I feel like a faker. A poser. This woman who is just winging her way through each day and motherhood in general. Sure I read endless books on parenting... I discuss my kids -what's working and what's not- with my other Mom friends...I brag about how cute they are to anyone who will listen...I, at any given moment, have approximately 13 cheerios in the bottom of my purse...but am I really, innately, a Mother?

Sure, there is something magical about when my daughter touches my face and says "Momma" in the most endearing, cherub-like voice you've ever heard. And yes, my heart beams with maternal pride when my son tells Daddy about the new owie on his knee and then explains, factually, "but Momma kiss it, make it allllll better!".

But the sometimes I wonder if I really am different? Perhaps it's the internal struggle of selfishness I still find myself battling with more often than I'd prefer. That I can't pee without someone knocking on the door...

And then I have these moments. These moments where I know I am changed to my core. The two that come to mind lately ironically have nothing to do with my own children. Perhaps that's why they are identifiable. Because I able to see the me that's changed, the me apart from them.
A few weeks ago, the twins and I were at OMSI, and as we were walking into our particular museum room of choice, I noticed a little girl, probably 5 years old, looking around anxiously. And in that moment, I just knew she was lost. With my twins still tucked safely in their stroller, I walked over to her and said in my kindest voice "are you okay?" She stared up at me wearily. I got down on my knees, looked her right in the eyes, and said "my name's Kendra, and I'm a mommy. See, these are my babies right here. If you need me to help you find your Mommy, I will." And with that her eyes filled up with tears, and she admitted she had indeed lost her mother.
I stayed down on my knees and kept eye contact and a soft, yet confident tone as I told her our plan..."see that man over there? He has an OMSI shirt on and a name tag. He works here. See how he has a walkie talkie on his belt?"
She nodded.
"Let's walk over to him, and he'll use his walkie talkie to let the rest of the people who work here know that you and your Mommy lost each other. And we'll all help you two find each other again! Okay?"
She nodded again, and accepted my extended hand.
A few minutes and a successful plan later, Mommy and daughter were reunited.

Her mother must have thanked me 50 times, which seemed so strange. Of course. What else would a Mother do? 

Then last week I was at work, when a Radiologist called up and needed me to page our Surgeon right away with some concerning test results. I did so, and shortly after that our Surgeon called and said the patient (a 5 month old) and his parents were on their way up to our office, and we were to take them over to the Operating Room, where he would meet them and proceed with emergency surgery.
I called the OR to put the case on the schedule, and waited for the family to walk into our office.
In walks a Momma, pushing a stroller with her sweet baby inside.
She looks nervous.
I told her I'd be with her in just a moment, and went back to my desk to finish arranging the case.

As I was on the phone, I watched her in the waiting room with her son.
I could tell by the way she was looking at her baby that she loved him dearly.That she was scared. But that even though her child was a mere infant, she was trying desperately to be strong for him and not show him fear.

I tucked some kleenex into my pocket before I went out to talk with her.

"Sorry to make you wait like you want to have a seat so we can talk?"
She sat nervously, and frantically sputtered something to the effect of "why did they tell us to come right up here? What's going on? Why won't anyone tell me what is going on??"

Protocol for this is gray. I am not a nurse. I am not an M.A. In fact, I do not have any initials behind my name.

But I am a Mother.

My job here was technically to book the case, and take her and her baby over to Admitting.

But I am a Mother.

So I sat next to her and said "there was something on the ultrasound your son just had that stood out to the Radiologist. He called our doctor to discuss it, and our doctor wants to check him out right away. What they are looking at can absolutely be fixed, but it very likely will require surgery. Immediate surgery. So in a few minutes, I'm going to walk you over to Children's Admitting and we're going to talk to them about getting your son ready for this to occur this afternoon."
She started sobbing.
I reached over and hugged her.
And there I sat. Hugging a woman I had never met, yet I knew.
My eyes watered as I told her "I know this is a lot to take in. I know you must be so overwhelmed and scared. I am a Momma too. I love my babies too. But I can tell you with a clear heart that your baby is in excellent hands, and we are very lucky to have the chance to fix what needs to be fixed before a greater, more dangerous issue occurs."
A few minutes later we made the trek to Admitting. I stayed with her until her OR nurse came out to discuss things a little more clearly...not because I had to, but because I wanted to. If I were that Mom, if that were my baby, that's what I would have wanted.

And we Mothers are all in this together.


AA said...

Yes Kendra; you are a MOTHER. and a great one at that1

Aunt Carol said...

A Kleenex blog for sure. Whatever you do, Kendra, do not struggle to be anything other than what you are now -- because that "you" is just wonderful.

Love, Aunt Carol

nbrown said...

So, I'm not a mom, and this post STILL made me cry.

Kendra, your tender heart blesses me so much.

Amanda said...

I sobbed too. Very touching. I'm so glad you were able to reach out to that very scared mom. You are a fabulous and caring mom. My niece and nephew are very blessed.

Vanessa's Dad said...

As Meilee would say, "I'm undone."


Courtney said...

My husband just gave me the 'why are you crying while cake boss is on tv' look (he was just grateful I wasn't crying because of something he did...ha.). I told him it's because I just read the sweetest blog post that made me feel special because I have this gift of being a mommy. Thank you, you just touched my heart is a very good way.