My first daughter was born in 1997. In 2000, I welcomed my second. Ten years later, I have more than a decade of being a mother under my belt. And I don't feel anything like a veteran, even though it's the longest-running title I've held.
Back during Y2K, I was just about to start a new job. I was married, living in San Jose, mother of one. I thought my life was just starting to settle. Since then, I've had another child, moved to Pittsburgh and Rochester, NY, then left my husband and came home to L.A. to start again as a single mom.
Two years ago, I did not want to think of my life as settled at all. I could only survive single motherhood if it were just for the day.
Now, I hope nothing changes. Of course, as a mother, I know it will always change. These girls just keep on growing, and changing on me when I least expect it.
And now I know that nothing will ever make me feel that as a mother, I am settled. My oldest daughter used to just put on whatever clothes I lay in front of her. Now she spends hours fretting about what to wear, and if she fits in. While my younger daughter's hands still feel small in mine, her legs are longer, her mind is quick-witted.
They love me so much that they constantly test me. They look at me defiantly, they try out laughs and smiles on me, they try something new without me, then they run excitedly to me to tell me all about it.
I will never stop being blown away by how much I mean to them. Of course, they mean everything to me, but I didn't expect it to work the other way around.
They're in their room, playing now. I'm waiting it out until they grow tired of each other, as is bound to happen. I'll tell them to take their baths, I'll make their dinners, we'll watch TV later together. I'll kiss them good night, and tomorrow I will tell them it's time to get dressed, to eat their breakfast, it's time to go.
I'll complain about having to nag them to do it so often. And then one of them will make us all burst into laughter. And I'll love how little has changed, and how each development simply makes us all stronger and better.
This decade, my role as their mother will change dramatically as they go to high school, then to college or whatever comes next. I'll stay up late, waiting for them to come home at curfew. I won't have to get a babysitter to go see a play. I will have to focus more on training them to be less dependent on me.
But through the decade, and all the decades to come, I will always be their mother.
Originally posted on LA Moms Blog, Jan. 1, 2010.