Motherhood, Musings

The First Year

I want to be the kind of person my son admires.

Lately, this has become even clearer to me than ever before. I want to carry myself in all areas of my life with integrity, with positivity, and with love.

I want the road to my future successes, whether they be personal or professional, to be littered with the remains of my angst, my anger, my unkindnesses, my disbelief, my negativity, and my sarcasm, not the people I climbed over to get wherever I’m going.

The year of my 30th birthday, 2012, was the hardest in my life. It was a year of loss, my twin miscarriage, my beloved maternal grandmother, and in many ways, the dream of the woman I wanted to become.

Of course, of those experiences was born a new woman with new dreams. I became more responsible, more confident, and more discerning. In many other ways, though, I let fear and disappointment stew and seep their toxins slowly but surely into the life I was rebuilding. In this way, I didn’t offer tolerance to those I cared for; I was quicker to judgement, faster to snap at the smallest transgressions, especially in those I loved most.

I let go, though not in the way that we generally mean when we use those words. I didn’t just let go of the things that held me back. I let go of the things that helped me be kind, like meditation and visualization, and I let go, too, of the things that helped me to be healthy. The body follows the mind, as they say.

Recently, I’ve found myself facing a few situations that clearly illustrate for me how the choices I make now will impact the woman I become, which then circles me back to my son. I want to be someone he admires, his hero, in fact, but even more than that, I want to model for him what it is to live a mindful life, one of lovingkindess toward others and to yourself.

With all my heart, I want him to be a man that understands that he is a creation of his own design, not the product of his circumstances. I want him to love fiercely, judge slowly, and offer a helping hand without expectation for returns. I want him to be the kind of man that gives people a chance and manages his own disappointment instead of lashing out in hurt or anger. I want him to wield kindness and understanding even when confronted by those who come with barbs, lies, and manipulations.

But, first, I have to become all these things myself, and that’s hard.

Oh, and on that note, I want him to do hard things and to know that the path to greatness involves many a hard thing.

In July, my son turned one year old. When he was born, all the outward areas of my life changed: my routine, my body, my work life, my marriage, my home life. My home became more cluttered, my schedule more chaotic, my personal life more rushed.

It was overwhelming. In fact, the living of it felt at times almost beyond my physical, emotional, or mental capacities.  I found myself clinging to the vestiges of my “old life.” I longed for the old days even as I cherished the new ones.

All those first year difficulties caved with new solutions. New routines, new ways to prevent boo-boos, stop tantrums, encourage naps, and more allowed me to eek out just a little time here and there for me, for my marriage, for my work.

A thousand hardships bloomed into one beautiful life that I wouldn’t trade for anything.

That’s the greatness part right there.

And, now that I’ve survived the first year of motherhood, I am looking back at some of the things I dropped on my rush to get there. They belong to me; they make me better, closer to the mother and woman I want to become.

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I’m Jasmine Myers, professional writer & marketer, joyful wife, and new mama living in Portland, Oregon.