This weekend I bought a dress for my baby's wedding. The fifth. I remember when the UHaul pulled down our road with all his worldly possessions, and I knew the life I had known for so long would never be the same.
When you have three toddlers, you have no time to be yourself. We adopted Candace when I was pregnant with Tom, and Beth was not quite three. (Candace came home January 27. She was two on February 14; Beth was three on March 12, and Tom was born on April 16!) I just prayed for a few years, trying to get a breath and remember who I was. Actually, that was the year I pressed into God because I could not do this on my own, I needed help!
Joe was in residency at the time, and he wasn't much help. But God was. The night Candace was grieving for her old life, and Beth didn't understand, I sat on a step with my big Tom-belly in between the girls on each knee and we sang: Jesus loves me, this I know. (A great theologian, when asked what was the most profound theologial truth simply sang that old verse from our childhood.)
When Tom was three, Dave came along, and two years later we had Steve. Steve, my baby, the groom, was my most pleasant baby. He never demanded much, he was content. He loved his brothers and sisters, and never had his very own time until he was a junior in high school. Finally, the only child.
Sometimes people ask if you have a favorite. I do. Each one of them. The one I am with right now. The one who needs me the most.
And when they’re all gone, life changes. People see who you are, just yourself, not someone's mom. Now I am just me, but in my heart of hearts, I know: I am always Mom, and I always will be.