In second grade, we had to write an essay on what I wanted to be when I grow up. Unlike most of the Asian kids with parents proudly approved goals such as a doctor, lawyer, teacher, or a policeman, I wanted to become a mother with ten children.
Twenty-nine years later, my dream finally came true. I was supposed to play Santa myself by delivering a baby on December 24, 2000. My dream arrived on the afternoon of December 13, only because I insisted on natural birth. And only because I am a 5'1 tiny woman and the baby had to come out early without breaking me into halves.
I did not suffer severe morning sickness throughout the pregnancy. I couldn't stand the smell of green onions. I had a strong craving for Italian dry salami. Odd? I secretly drank my favorite Jasmine green tea with honey and boba when all of my mom's friends warned me not to do so. To my defense, none of them graduated from medical school, nor were they able to provide evidence with fancy medical terms.
I did, however, played classical music next to the big fat belly every single day. I followed the advice on walking up and down the stairs (indoor) and hills (outdoor) hoping for a smooth labor.
I checked in around 2 AM on the 13th, and the baby came out at 1:53 PM that very afternoon. I passed out while reaching out to hold my baby. Next thing I know, I'd woken up in a private room covered with tubes. It was already tomorrow by then, and I haven't held my baby. With my mother's help, I pushed myself out of bed to use the bathroom. Next thing I know, I'd woken up on the bathroom floor numbly watching a nurse patting (although slapping would be more accurate) my cheeks, calling my name, and my mom stood next to her horrified.
I had to wait for another night to hold my baby. The doctors needed to make sure I wouldn't pass out while nursing him. I could not argue with that.
While everyone was concerned about my health condition, all I wanted to do was to hold the baby I haven't met. Finally, they moved me to another room, and I could go to the nursery to nurse my newborn, wrapped in a blue blanket.
He was tiny and beautiful. Not sure why, but it was at that moment I feel I have officially entered motherhood.
Motherhood is my savior, my Polaris (I'm referring to the north star, not the ATV).
Motherhood teaches me the true meaning of unconditional love, especially during the Terrible Twos, He-Just-Won't-Shut-Up Threes, and Time-Out-Is-A-Joke Fours.
Motherhood takes unconditional love mentioned above to another level as the child of mine entered Tween and Teen. Tween runs roughly between 9-12. Teen runs from 13-19. I might not have a degree in Calculus, but I know that's a decade. A decade is a long time.
Motherhood is to overfill my office desk, and walls when applicable, with photos of my son, from birth to the present time. And talk about how my son scored a goal during his soccer game before weekly meetings.
Motherhood is about carrying travel-sized tissue packs (instead of makeup bag) to every performance, award ceremony, and competition.
Motherhood trained me to come up have two speeches for every competition, group or individual--one for the victory and one for losing. However, these speeches eventually shifted to the conversation once he was in high school. And sometimes, my son would awe me with his unscripted heartfelt thoughts that bring tears to my eyes while I cherish the proud mamma moment.
Motherhood provides me the opportunity to uncover the courage I did not think I have within me. The courage to advocate for my child. The courage to shamelessly negotiate for a lower price because every penny counts. The courage to weep quietly in the bathroom so my child can gain the most valuable lesson in life by pulling himself up when he falls (both literally and metaphorically). This type of heartache outranks labor pain, unarguably.
Motherhood trains me to be kind to everyone (as a positive role model, doh), but if you harm my son, I will cut you without hesitation.
Motherhood wavers each year and boosts my mental pliancy accordingly. There is very little time to adjust when my child calls me mom instead of mommy. There is no explanation when he politely asks me to hold off on hugs, something he couldn't get enough of once upon a time, especially in public settings. "I love you" is then strictly prohibited.
Motherhood, throughout the years, nudges me not to strive for perfection. There is no need to wear the cone of shame if feeding my child McDonald happens to be the most practical and efficient choice every now the then.
Motherhood nurtures my vulnerability. There are days I saw on the bathroom floor, doubting my poor parenting skills. There are days after observing certain behaviors, I'd ask myself, What I have done to that child of mine? There are days I turn to the higher power to guide my child mainly because I simply couldn't.
Motherhood also teaches me to let out a sigh of relief, furtively, when hearing other moms complaining about their kids.
Motherhood isn't easy, but it is the most rewarding role I play in life.
Motherhood unfolds the enlightenment that being selfless is a privilege.