I have a rare, quiet moment to sit and actually hear my own thoughts, so I decided to take a stab at describing what it means to be a mom. For me, motherhood was late in coming. After a first, failed, unhappy marriage, during which I had resigned myself to never having children, I met my husband and best friend, Jonathan. We talked about starting a family and found ourselves pregnant within a few months of marrying. I was 39. It turned out to be an ectopic pregnancy and I had to have emergency surgery to remove the fallopian tube and the embryo within. Our hearts were broken. We went straight to IVF, on the advice of our doctors, trying several times over the next two plus years, without success, to conceive a child. We had to come to terms with the end of that dream and open ourselves to a new one as adoptive parents. We decided on China in the summer of 2005 and once we did, it was full-steam ahead with paperwork and tackling all he hurdles in order to prove ourselves healthy and able to take care of a child.
The waiting was hard, I won’t gloss over that, but I had already waited so long, suffered miscarriages and heartache, that this wait seemed bearable; at least we knew that we would have our baby at the end of it all. When the call came on May 2, 2008, that we were finally parents to, miracle of miracles, twins, the happiness was overwhelming. We walked around with pictures of those beautiful baby girls for weeks, giddy, proud, grateful and scared at the prospect of parenthood.
The day we met our girls, and the ones ahead in China, were simultaneously joyous and terrifying. We had prepared ourselves (or so we thought) well, but nothing could have prepared us for the reality of becoming an instantaneous family of four. The first few months we were home are a blur to me, as I learned how to care for the girls and worked on establishing a routine. I was so afraid I might do something wrong and considering all they had been through in their short lives, I was determined to make them feel secure, safe, loved and treasured. For possibly the first time in my life, I completely put aside all my needs and desires and gave myself over to their love and care. It was both incredibly fulfilling and completely draining. I was beside myself with emotions at times. I had wanted this so badly, but I felt myself struggling so often. I was so TIRED all the time. I cried. A lot.
It got easier as the weeks and months went on and the girls finally started sleeping on a schedule. They were such happy babies and ate everything in sight. They were healthy and thriving with all our love and attention. They had each other to play with, which did make it easier for me to cook dinner, do laundry and keep the house in some semblance of order. There were more days than not when I felt like I was doing a good job. When I looked at them, I was (and still am) overcome with love for these two beautiful little girls. It was everything and more than I had dreamed of all those years and every day was a new adventure, a new opportunity to learn, to love, to grow – for all of us.
LilyKate and Eleanor are now three and a half and have grown into two of the sweetest, happiest, most extraordinary little people! They make me want to be a better person and I still sometimes pinch myself that they are my daughters. Seeing the world through their eyes is an amazing gift. All of those years I waited, but could never have dreamed a dream this big, bright, beautiful and blessed. Only through God’s grace could this family come to be and I am thankful beyond words for this gift of motherhood. My precious girls, I hope you always know you can count on my unwavering, unconditional love. You have enriched my life in more ways than I ever thought possible and you make me so very happy and proud to be your mommy. I love you to the moon and back.