To Motherhood! Huzzah!

“You have seven children?” Came the incredulous question from the mouth of a perky little twenty something one day at work. “I don’t even want one child. All the worry. All the responsibility. Everything you have to give up. Don’t you ever regret not being able to pursue your own dreams by always having to take care of children? I would whither and die.  I want to LIVE my life!” You would be surprised, at least I was, how often this sad little set of questions is heard.

I always respond to these comments now with a highly optimistic “Having kids is amazing! We have had so much fun together! I have learned so many things! They have widened my horizons and challenged me to be brave.” These perky little twenty somethings look at me like I have two heads, but I can tell that my optimism is not the pat answer to the question of kids and marriage in their world. My happiness with my motherhood throws them off center and they look just a bit puzzled that I could be so happy. That isn’t the agenda they have been endlessly fed! My only hope is that I have left a little seed of doubt in their minds that might grow into a second look at the prospect of marriage and motherhood.

Motherhood is a tremendous adventure! Because I am a mom, I know the heart skipping thrill of feeling the first human flutters of life stirring within me. I know the exhilarating and wild ride of adoption ending in the joy of “gotcha day”. I have learned the rules of baseball, basketball, been to the horse races, watched my girl ride and soar over jumps on a gorgeous roan hunter. I have picked apples, pumpkins, created numberless Halloween costumes that won…prizes!  I have gone long haul trucking for eight days with one son, and watched another son fall out of the sky with his sister as I filmed it screaming half in terror, half in absolute exhilaration at being invited to this crazy thrill. I discovered that poetry stirred magically in one child. I found myself crying in wonder as I discovered that my twelve year old could run like the wind around a track with a glorious win. I saw echoed in his face the words of Eric Liddell from Chariots of Fire, “God’s made me fast ….. and when I run, I FEEL God’s pleasure!” I have entered weird and wonderful worlds of science fiction by reading some fantastically creative sci fi stories written by by my delightfully quirky and creative son.

I have laughed myself silly with all of them. I have felt the gripping, overwhelming urge to beat someone up because they hurt my child’s feelings, and that I KNEW I would probably be able to die if they needed me to protect them from danger. To be that knit together in love to another is all at once a terrifying, yet God given and unique wonder of motherhood.

I have cooked and experimented with my kids. I have hiked in places I never thought possible but for the confidence my daughter had in me. That I even HAVE such a daughter astounds me always. That this beautiful, thoughtful, brave, smart, and kind young woman has been gifted to me, and who has this wonderful, innate understanding of my need to love and see the world and who takes me on trips to wonderful places.

I have made so many parenting mistakes but they miraculously didn’t hold it against me, and they only remember and constantly tell me that their childhoods were magical, protected, and stable. I have learned about music, songs, books, and movies that I would have never watched or read unless my children had told me about them.

Because I am a mother, I have entertained the possibility of aliens! I have tried sushi. I have found myself floating in a sensory deprivation tank in the dark and finding that I loved it. I have gotten a tattoo with my youngest son to mark the end of an era, and had a wonderful, mind expanding conversation on art with the tattoo artist who was classically trained. My mind has been opened to so many things through the the exuberant love of life overflowing from my children into me. 

I backed into the theater world because my children wanted to try it, and to my surprise, I found a long time love for drama in the process. My children encouraged me to become an artistic director of my own small theater. They encouraged me to write and to never stop loving the world. They applaud my every success, they call and laugh for an hour with me over the foibles of the world. They have taught me not only how to be a mother but how to be a friend.

Lately, I have watched one son find the love of his life and marry her. I rejoice that they are starting their own adventure, and I get to see their beautiful faces once again in the faces of my grand babies.

Because I became a mother, my life as a human being has grown and grown and grown to 100 x it’s normal size. All that life I would have missed, if my children had never been. All those dreams I never knew I had fulfilled by the joy and wonder of my children pulling me into their adventures. Motherhood is not for the faint of heart. It is filled with adventures crazy and perhaps hard, very hard. But of all the things I am most happy about in my life? That I have kids and they call me Mom.

Throw your fears and caution to the wind, you perky little twenty somethings! Take another look at marriage and motherhood. Don’t be afraid. I wish you all the joy and adventure I have had as a mom. And I dare to say it quite loudly: I am fulfilled.

About the Author, Denise Trull

Denise Trull is the editor in chief of Sostenuto, an online journal for writers and thinkers of every kind to share their work with each other. Her own writing is also featured regularly at Theology of Home, and has appeared in Dappled Things. She also can be found at her Substack, The Inscapist. Denise is the mother of seven grown, adventurous children and has acquired the illustrious title of grandmother. She lives with her husband Tony in St. Louis, Missouri.