I had three girls. With each pregnancy, I had a boy’s name chosen, but never one for a girl until the very end. When my hands were full of spilled milk and dirty diapers, I didn’t consider that one day it would all be worth it. I was in too deep with barely time to think. At the end of the day, I looked at the mess and was grateful everyone had survived.
They were homeschooled when homeschooling was a super-cool rebellion. We crawled through swamps to find tadpoles to study. We gathered caterpillars to watch the transformation they made into gorgeous butterflies. I read aloud every night from The Hobbit, Lord of the Rings Trilogy and Watership Down. Nine years of intense “am I crazy?” fears that kept me up at night wondering if I was harming them in some way; that they’d be socially maladjusted for not hanging with their peers for their day to day socialization. We joined co-ops and created our own learning opportunities with other students on a weekly basis.
Then our household finances changed. I went to work full time and the girls went to public school. Suddenly I was not a cool super-mom anymore. It was time to experiment with dangerous friends and see if what they’d been taught about themselves and what was harmful to them was true or not. They were hard years where I wondered if I should have ever been a parent.
It wasn’t easy for them to turn things around. For years, they lugged around backpacks so heavy that a mule would struggle with the load. And sometimes while juggling a baby on the hip. I became the encouragement on the other end of the phone when tests seemed insurmountable mountains. I’d remind them of the strength to learn I’d seen in them during our school years together. Scholarships and grants were found that could ease the financial burdens.
Now here we are 25 years later. I’m not bragging when I say that they are great at what they do. They work hard, don’t cut corners and truly care about people. Health care professionals are in awe when they find out I’m Amanda, Jessica or JoJo’s mother. I’ve seen it more than a few times.
Recently, I’ve felt burdened to go to each girl, take their face in my hands and tell them how proud they have made me. I told each of them that I was glad they were girls. They are strong, fierce, loyal and independent. There are people I don’t know whose lives are better because of these girls I raised.
Tonight, JoJo dropped off her nursing graduation photo. I told her again how proud I was as I hugged the stuffing out of her.
“Little did she know…” she movie quoted from Stranger than Fiction.
Honey, you got that exactly right.