Before I had children, I had a very specific picture in my head of what kind of mother I would be. I really expected I would be a "coddler", one of those gentle sorts who leaps into empathetic action at the slightest little bump or sniffle.
And I think, for the first year or so, I probably was that way.
But I am finding, as I walk further down this parenting road, that phrases such as "toughen up" and "shake it off" and "play with pain" are creeping ever more regularly into my vocabulary.
Not that I’m cold-hearted, mind you–there’s plenty of TLC that goes on in this family, and the kids know that Mom is the Mender Of All Broken Things. But they also know that Mom has a radar firmly in place that detects the Revel-In-the-Drama Cry, the I’m-Going-To-Get-My-Brother-In-Trouble Cry, the Maybe-I-Can-Get-Out-Of-A-Math-Test Cry.
I’m not sure if it’s the addition of years or the addition of warm bodies to my brood, but something has changed. Tonight, I thought about that tender young mother I was, rocking my firstborn in a darkened nursery, cooing gently and forming all my lovely intentions to speak soft words at all times.
Yes, I thought about her tonight, as my three wrestling boys banged against their sister’s wall, waking her up. There were cries of "I’m hu-u-u-u-urt!" echoing down the stairs, and the cries were waking Corrie further. As I tromped up the stairs I heard strange words leaving my mouth: "SOMEONE BETTER HAVE A LEG DETACHED FROM HIS BODY!"
Shhhh. Don’t tell the sweet little mother in the nursery. We wouldn’t want to scare her.