My mothering adventure began February 27, 1995 when my daughter, Brianna Mae, was born. She was perfect. My expectations were high. I would nurture my baby, keep up my many interests, and maintain a spotless, organized home. Shouldn’t be too hard, right? Then reality hit. With a needy newborn, raging hormones, and a persistent allergy-induced rash, my expectations had to be adjusted. I would have to let some things go. Every diaper I used did not have to be made of cloth.
On December 8, 1996, Noah Daniel came into the world with gusto. Nursing was a challenge. Undisturbed sleep was a distant memory. Life with a toddler and newborn forced me, once again, to lower my expectations. Piles of unfinished laundry became a new norm.
Simone Elizabeth brightened our world on October 4, 1999. On day three the nurses noticed she had a cleft palate. Doctors told me she would never nurse. I was crushed. (Proving them wrong, she latched on at 4 months.) Determined to never let a drop of formula pass my baby’s lips (another one of those self-inflicted expectations), I pumped around the clock struggling to keep up my supply. I would hook myself up, rock Simone in the bouncy seat, read, eat, all while trying to keep my 3- and 5-year-old children from undecorating the Christmas tree in an imaginative scene involving the Grinch. At six months old my baby wasn’t thriving. I was forced to revisit my expectations once again. It was time to start supplementing with formula.
The adventure peaked again when on September 26, 2001 Ahni Violet was born at home. Overshadowed by a destructive toddler (see picture….that’s 22 eggs!), a preschooler and a kindergartener, Ahni had no choice but to go along for the ride. Thankfully, she was easygoing. I, however, was not. With four children under seven, and a developing thyroid problem which left me beyond anxious, it became okay if they injested an occasional hotdog and were rushed into bed without books.
Our house was full; our family complete. No more kids for us, so we thought. Fast forward to 2007 and we entered the unpredictable ride of adoption. After over a year in the process, we brought home our son, Abel Mathewos Evan Geogerian, on February 15, 2008. He is a walking miracle who dazzles everyone with his joyful spirit. Throwing ourselves back into babyhood has been a blast, giving me new opportunities for growth. Continuing around the bends of parenting two middle schoolers, and homeschooling two kids while keeping the toddler out of the toilet, I’ve found that it’s okay if the pile of creative remnants and food thrown overboard fill the dustpan to overflowing.
I’m thankful to God and to my dear friends who remind me of the need to be realistic on the path of mothering. Recalling her early years of parenting, my friend Marilyn always says, “If dinner was made and the kids were alive, it was a good day.” Another friend told me sometimes they just have popcorn and fruit for dinner. One dear friend’s counters were more cluttered than mine. How refreshing to have others alongside me on this journey who aren’t striving for perfection! I will need them and their reminders even more when we bring home our sixth child.
With a new day beginning as I write this, I am reminded that I need to make a short list today. Love and teach my children, make dinner, keep chaos at bay as much as possible, and try to maneuver through the unexpected with a smile on my face.