Last week, there was a small earthquake here in L.A., just a mile or so from our house. Because it was so close, the house definitely rattled-and-rolled pretty intensely. My husband had never been in a quake, so he threw his arms around me, instinctively, protectively. Me? I pushed his arm off and ran to get my babies. Thankfully, it was a short quake and when I got to their room, the boys were still sleeping soundly. My heart was racing, but my mind was clear and I was calm -- my first priority, my gut-place instinct was to make sure my babies were safe and keep them safe.
As I walked back to our bedroom, I was struck by, "Whoa, I really am a Mom." I know, I sound a little stupid. I mean, duh, yes, I'm a Mom who loves and nurtures and panics and swells with pride over my little ones. But this was a pure heart, all love, Mama Bear reaction. It got me thinking about the other moments that really make me feel like a Mom. And here's what I've come up with...
- When cold, fever, or any illness strikes. Colds and low fevers are really no big deal in the grand scheme of things. So, when my little ones get sick, I think, "Come on, man up, it's just a cold and it will pass." But when I see their sad, watery eyes and their snotty noses, when I hear that nails-on-a-chalkboard baby cough, it's pure torture, torture that I just want to end already. Really, I think the babies handle it better than I do.
- When I suck snot out of my baby's nose. So speaking of colds, that Nose Frida thing is really a lifesaver when your baby is snotty and congested and needs relief. Still, you've got to love your child a whole lot to literally suck the snot out of his nose. I mean, you wouldn't do it for someone else's kid, right?
- When I go out on the town. A couple of weeks ago, I was in Austin for a friend's bachelorette party. So, of course, there was some drinking, some bar-hopping. As I stood at one outdoor college bar, with my heels off (because my feet were killing me), I kept thinking, "What am I doing here? I'm a mother of twins. I should be home sleeping. I hate this thong." Then, as the night progressed and I began to notice the young girls wearing T-shirts as dresses, the young boys far, far too drunk to still have a beer in their hands, I found myself all crotchety and judgmental. "That girl really needs to put some pants on. That boy is really being quite aggressive with his grinding. Ugh, she's having another drink? Maybe I should have made this white wine a spritzer." Then it hit me...my once-sexy self was gone, totally gone. Replaced by, well, a middle-aged Mother.
- When they stick their drooly fingers in my mouth.
Before I had kids, I'd watch in awe as friends opened wide to accept an already-gnawed morsel of food from their toddler's greasy hands. Ew, so grody. My kids are apparently food hogs and have not yet offered me a bite (greedy), but they do like to take the fingers they've just been sucking on and stick them in my mouth, as I sit there mumbling, "Mmmm, delicious, so tasty, tasty fingers." Which is a lie, because no, their fingers are not tasty, not at all. And sometimes, their fingers taste like spit-up. Why, why, why am I doing this?! I always wonder. Well, that's easy: it makes them laugh.
- When I give them a new toy. Now, this one might be projection because it's become clear to me that my babies are just as fascinated by the wrapping paper, as they are the gift inside. The night after their birthday party, while they were asleep, I opened a few of their gifts, squealing with glee over a zoo animals playset, a bubble-blowing octopus, two adorable plush rocking chairs. I felt like it was Christmas Eve, and I couldn't wait for the babies to wake up and start playing with their new toys. As you might imagine, it was not nearly as exciting as I'd pictured it since the colorful tissue paper under the couch was equally as enticing to them. Still, that excitement and joy I felt? That was Mama love.
- While playing Peek-a-boo. My babies just turned 1 last week, so they're at a great age right now. The changes keep coming on fast, and it seems like every day is some new discovery or another peak in their curiosity. It's not like I didn't enjoy spending time with my babies before, but the last few months, I've been digging it a lot more. And I'm having so much fun playing games with them. I mean, these guys crack me up, not because they're particularly funny, but because they're my babies and the baby-things they do are hilarious. I'll put a blanket over one of their heads and ask, "Where's my boy, where's my boy?" while his little head turns back and forth under the sheet. Then, suddenly, he'll yank it down and laugh hysterically like, "Here I am!" Yeah, I know, it's your garden-variety peek-a-boo, but I'm his Mommy, so it's pure comedy. Also, these days, I've taken to lying down on the floor, inviting them to crawl all over me. It's Mommy Pile-On, and it's awesome.
- Seeing myself in videos or pictures with them. Like I said, it was my babies' first birthday last week, so of course, we were taking a ton of pictures and videos. Normally, I don't like to get in the pictures, but I felt like it might actually be important for me to be in their birthday albums. The next day, I played back the videos and scrolled through the pictures, and tears came to my eyes. I was so, so HAPPY in every picture. Beaming really, with pride, with love, bursting at the seams. I can't get enough of them, constantly kissing their cheeks and snuggling their chubby bodies and nuzzling their sweet necks -- completely, totally, obsessively smitten. Of course, I know that I'm happy, that I'm totally in love with them, that they're my whole world. But seeing it, seeing myself with them, I had no idea just how swoon-y I actually am.
- When someone other than Mommy holds them. With this adorable age has also come some separation anxiety and stranger anxiety. When it happens, I'm always consoling the offender who dared try to hold my shy baby. "Oh, so sorry, it's not personal," I say, as my little man's arms reach out for me, a pleading look on his face. But as I scoop my baby back into my arms, I've got to admit, I go all gooey inside. I can't help but feel all warm-and-fuzzy with my babies' love and need for me. Of course, if they're doing this at 15, we've got a problem, but I know I only have a small window of time where they still feel like they need their Mommy. So, I'll take it!
What moments stand out in your mind that make you realize you're really a Mom?