Mom, you’d be as surprised as anybody, I am sure.
Maybe more surprised than I am.
There are certain life events that come along and stop me in my tracks. I often say to myself, ‘I can’t believe you’re not here for this.’
Milestones arrive, and as I approach them, I still sometimes think I can call you up and tell you my news.
But I can’t. I know that.
So instead I’ll write it down here: Mom, I am getting married.
OK, at the moment I am a crying, blubbering mess, but I am pretty certain we would’ve laughed about this. Yes, your daughter — the very same militant girl who swore up and down she’d never, ever get married — is actually tying the knot.
I am not sure what would’ve surprised you more, that I became a mom or that I am becoming somebody’s wife.
Truth is I wrestle with the reality that you will never hold your grandson (and he is the sweetest little bean you can imagine and I know you'd want to gobble him up) and that you will never meet the man who lights me up so much that saying ‘I do’ no longer seems scary.
The fact that we had a baby first and then thought about marriage would not have shocked you. After all, you know me. Possibly better than anyone.
What I would give for you to be there when I walk down the aisle. It isn’t even tangible the trade I’d make to hear your voice and hug you.
So, because I can’t do those things, this is a love letter of sorts.
It’s to say that while you can’t be there when I get married, I know you are with me.
You are here with me every day, actually.
In every silly thing I do, I am reminded of how much fun we had.
When I have laughing fits that bring me to tears, you are here.
When your grandson and I are boogying around the kitchen to music, I think of you. And when I spoil him with hugs and kisses, covering his cheeks, belly and feet, the top of his head and his soft, dimply hands, you are most certainly here.
Mom, you exist in the spirit of who I am, in what I’ve learned and all that I know.
It has been 16 years since you died and, I can't lie, some things don’t get any easier with time.
We’ve missed out on a lot together, and it’s hard not to feel robbed, but I hope you know that I couldn’t have done any of this without you.
I couldn’t have built this happy, spirited life filled with love and infectious giggles without you. I had the privilege of growing up in a happy home with two parents in love. I am truly the luckiest girl in the world for having been loved by you.
You taught me how to dream big, love big, and live big.
What else can I say?
Mom, I am getting married and I simply wish you could be there with us to hug and dance and laugh until we cry.
Almost everything about motherhood has taken me by surprise. Our son is now 16 months old, and this insanely fast-paced rollercoaster ride has been peppered with daily surprises.
If you’re a mom, you know this: The ups are better than anything you ever could’ve imagined, and the downs, well they’re pretty much hell. Why not be honest, right?
Here are the top six things that have surprised me most about motherhood so far.
The night I went into labour, I woke up in excruciating pain, which came in ebbs and flows, running through my body like calm water before erupting into violent waves. These were my contractions, of course. Yet, I wanted to finish reading the book Bringing Up Bebe before giving birth, so I locked myself in the bathroom and plowed through the final pages. Why, you ask? Truth is, I was terrified. I was about to meet the tiny human being who would one day call me Momma and this is no small thing. I am still surprised by my reaction because I was very, very prepared. Anyone else have this last minute, baby-is-on-its-way kind of panic? Or maybe that was just me ...
I followed our baby’s progression in the womb daily. He was the size of a grain of rice and then grew to the size of various fruits. He developed fingerprints and eyelashes, the art of sucking his thumb. I read tons of pregnancy and parenting books yet, shockingly, I was not prepared. Children are so unique and how we respond to them is an organic process, one that can only come from truly getting to know them. Getting familiar with these little creatures — what makes them giggle and cry and want to tackle hug you — is magical. And you won't find that in books.
When I hear our sweet son say Momma, I sometimes think, ‘Are you talking to me?’ Yes, I still have days when I think 'Oh my God, I am somebody's mother!' It shocks me like a lightning bolt. Just writing the word momma gets me teary-eyed. There is nothing in the world like it.
Flashback to the newborn months: I had originally imagined myself happily toting around our son, a proud new momma, confident and beaming. Of course I was surprised when this didn’t happen. Instead I felt shell-shocked, drained, scared, and completely alone. I didn’t know then about the powerful online resources and communities available to parents such as Playtex Mommyville.ca that could’ve helped me through those dark days. If you're a new mom and have at times felt completely lost, please keep these words close by: you are not alone.
I worked for many years in the daily news business covering some very gruesome happenings. My heart often broke for those facing unimaginable adversity, but nothing compares to the emotional impact I feel now. I am constantly surprised by what a blubbering, soft-hearted puddle I’ve turned into. Yes, my son has given me the best gift a person could ask for — true empathy.
This love, oh this wild, impossible love. It is deeply and firmly rooted, a roar from within, and it is unquestioningly the most powerful and intoxicating kind of love I’ve ever known. I used to think I never wanted children. Needless to say I am floored by how strong my maternal instinct is. I would move mountains for my son, lift bulldozers and cars, go up against ferocious, hungry animals and run through burning buildings for him. I would give my life for his, and really that is all there is.
What about you? What surprised you most about this whirlwind known as motherhood?
I call him my husband. We live together and have created a remarkable baby boy. Our lives are intertwined. And now my husband and I are walking down the aisle.
As a non-wedding girl, this is a dream come true.
I am marrying my best friend and love of my life during a quickie, 20-minute ceremony at Toronto City Hall. No muss. No fuss. No extravagantly decorated wedding hall or nit-picky planning. No sugar and flour baked into an inexcusably overpriced cake and no over-the-top flowery madness.
What we have are free online invites and seating for about 15 people. We will exchange vows and enjoy simple food and drinks afterward, and we won't get stuck with a mountain of post-wedding debt. Now that is my kind of wedding.
Truth is, I’ve never been a wedding person.
While many of my friends spent the better part of their childhood fantasizing about their special day, weddings didn’t even enter my radar.
Then, as a young adult, getting hitched was further from my mind than the planet Mars.
When friends started selecting dresses and reception halls, I began to realize I was an alien or, if not an alien, I definitely wasn’t the stereotypical gal.
Nothing about planning a wedding held appeal.
Everyone said that I’d change. I didn’t.
Sure, you might think I am a Grinch or that I lack romance, but that’s not it at all.
In fact, love and romance is all around me.
It’s there when my partner and I spontaneously dance to Willie Nelson’s song, I’d Have to Be Crazy; it’s there in the sweet sentiments we write on our kitchen chalkboard; it’s there in our lovingly-made meals, and soon it will be there in the small room where our no-frills ceremony is being held.
I am happy to say I’ll be ringing in the New Year as a married woman, and my wonderful husband will officially be my husband. Now that's something I can say 'I do' to.