From my faded C-section scar to my newly found first grey hair to the ridiculous number of unmatched children’s socks scattered around my house, it is fairly obvious that I am not new at the mom-game. Parenting is full of stages – all different and all difficult! With every birthday our children celebrate it is like we, as parents, advance on to the next level. I felt like we ‘levelled up’ big time with the start of Kindergarten and the school routine (I hear it happens again around puberty so that is something to look forward to). But before school came the toddler stage. I have managed to get through it twice relatively unscathed. But I just have to say that parenting a toddler from a wheelchair belongs to an entirely different realm of childrearing than anything else I’ve experienced.
Christmas is gearing up around my house and I’m pretty excited about it. Honestly, I love everything about the holidays. From the anticipation to the decorating to the traditions to the music, it’s the time of year that I feel the most grounded. For six weeks or so I have a pretty good idea of what to expect out of life; it is predictable and it is comforting. So yes, I am one of those people who breaks out the Christmas songs and decorations in November because it allows me to breathe. I can think to myself “OK, we did it. We made it to another Christmas”. With all of the change that has happened, the holidays are still familiar and welcoming; a feeling of coming home again. And even though I still get so much joy out of this season, I can’t help but feel moments of loss for all of the reasons that my favourite time of year is now different.
Like every mother, I grew in to my role as ‘Mommy’. It’s a role every one of us plays differently and most days it would be a hell of a lot easier if it were scripted. But whether we are handed a tiny newborn, taking the hand of a skeptical toddler or welcoming a child or teen into our life, we all become ‘Mom’ pretty quickly after meeting our children. Thankfully we don’t need to know everything right away. We learn and develop as our children do and there is a comforting feeling, a feeling of home, in our own little family’s routines, expectations and traditions. It becomes natural, automatic, familiar and ‘ours. It becomes our motherhood; it becomes our children’s childhood.