the writing contest I entered in a national parenting magazine since the winners were to be notified by November 30. I think I'm pretty safe to share my entry with you. The topic was, "What motherhood means to me" and there was to be a photograph included with the 200 (!) word essay. You know I tend to be long-winded, so getting something to just 200 words was the toughest part of writing it. Anyway, here it is:
I flipped through the mail as I balanced my five month old daughter on my hip. There, in among the bills and advertisements, was a postcard; a postcard from Nepal. My best friend from high school, who was now a single, well-paid lawyer, was off on another world adventure. Normally, her postcards didn’t bother me. It was fun receiving real mail from exotic locales, but this time was different. This time I had a baby daughter and the possibilities for world travel seemed a long way off. Looking at the postcard, I realized that in choosing to become a mother, I had also chosen not to take other paths. The rest of the day, I found myself thinking about all the “might-have-beens,” wondering if I was okay with choosing motherhood over adventure and excitement. As the days went by and my daughter grew, these questions faded into the background. Every so often, something would trigger the memory of that afternoon, but just as quickly, the demands of motherhood would take center stage again.
That five month old baby is now a 16-year-old young woman, and many other babies have followed her, but the memory of that postcard remains. The difference is that I know now that I took the correct path. I feel only relief that the “might-have-beens” about which I dreamed never came. I have not missed any adventure or excitement by choosing motherhood. Through being a mother, I have experienced, joy, adventure, excitement, sorrow, grief, anxiety, and love. Much love! And while trekking around the mountains in Nepal would have been thrilling, mountains can’t make you laugh or wrap small arms around your leg. Mountains can’t be sent out into the world to accomplish great things. And mountains can’t love you back.