It’s become cliché to say, but it’s genuine: becoming a mother changes you in ways you could never imagine. I’m a thinker and a planner. I value being prepared, and I read everything I can get my hands on. When I learned I was pregnant, I dove headfirst into every bit of pre- and postnatal literature I could find. I was well equipped and ready to expand our family to three, and certain the third human would be a little girl with eyes, skin and hair like mine. I brought home a bouncing baby boy! The second time around, I was confident my womb’s resident was female. I already had one handsome son, and this one felt like she would be my daughter.
I brought home another gorgeous baby boy.
I was seriously starting to question my maternal intuition at this point (LOL), but there’s a 50-50 chance after all. I always wanted a girl, so maybe my desire was clouding my discernment a bit. I was blessed with Kingsley and Kensi, and three years later? It fits. It fits so perfectly. When you’re a parent, much of your focus is on instilling wisdom and knowledge. These little beings have been entrusted to you, and you have to find a way to teach them how to exist and succeed in this world. It’s a responsibility so large that it’s easy to overlook the opportunities for the teacher to learn from the student. My sons have awakened within me so many lessons I’d previously forgotten.
For many of us, having a child brings with it the expectation that he or she will be a mixed mini version of mommy and daddy. I think moms have a special version of this line of thinking. I thought, “I fed him, nursed him, chose what to expose him to…” Somewhere in the back of my mind, I believed he was going to magically inherit all of me; I mean he lived inside of me, for goodness sake. Around the three-month mark, I realized my son was a unique being with a personality all his own. He wasn’t the little Breegan replica I’d made him out to be in my mind. I was about to learn how absolutely divine that would turn out to be.
Both of my boys are like me in some ways and completely opposite in others. Learning them step by step has been an astonishing experience. Kingsley is sensitive, and a lot like me. We enjoy a lot of the same things; that in itself has taught me a lot. See, I wanted a girl because I couldn’t wait to share my joys and talk about my favorite lipstick. What I’ve come to realize is that what I wanted were those special moments of closeness, of commonality. To my new-mother surprise, I had and have that with my boys! We experience new things together, talk about our fears and happiness, and so much more. We have moments that I couldn’t have with anyone else. They’re priceless.
I changed my sons’ hairstyles a bit ago, and they wore faux dreadlocks for awhile. I remember looking at my precious little ones and wondering how the other kids and neighbors would receive them with this change. Shortly after, we attended a birthday party and I thought, okay, this is it. This is the moment of truth. I waited for the remarks, but none came. No one said a thing. My kids live in a world where everything is fluid, and they adapt and adjust effortlessly. They don’t judge people because of the color of their skin, the size of their bodies or who they’re holding hands with. In fact, they don’t even seem to notice. Their perspective is so untainted, so full of innocence.
My sons have taught me many things. Among them is that they are each their own person, complete with individual thoughts and feelings, traits and personalities. They enjoy some of the same things as mom and dad but are determined to pave their own way and develop interests that their parents have never held. My boys show me daily that their view of the world is unsullied by the politics and prejudices that exist for the rest of us. Whether they’re running from waves just washed upon the shore or throwing a concert for grandma on FaceTime, they prove that what we’re doing, what we’re instilling, matters.
Make room in your heart to learn from the best teachers: your children.