I love children.  When I was four or five years old I knew I wanted to be a mother.  When I was a pre-teen and teenager I loved to babysit.  My weekends were consumed with children.  Word spread throughout our community and I was constantly booked as a babysitter.   My teenaged summers were spent babysitting.  I played with the children and I adored them.

I married at twenty-two and gave birth at twenty-three.  I couldn’t wait to start our family.  I thought I knew love until I held Caitlin.  I had no clue what love meant until I met her.  We decided to give Caitlin a sibling and along came Sarah.  (No child should be an only child unless absolutely necessary).  Six years later we decided to have another and soon came Jackie.  I wanted more children but my husband and I were falling apart.  You don’t have children to preserve a marriage.  I don’t think you should have children unless you are in a safe and loving environment.  A man should love his woman.  That woman should love her man.

In his defense I know in my heart my husband loved me and he did the best he could.  I know he loved the girls the same way.  I tried to hold on and love him back the best I could.

Sometimes our best just isn’t good enough.

I loved these babies.  For the most part I spent all my days playing, holding, and caring for them.  I filled their days with books and games.  We would color with crayons and marker.  I made play dough.  We would paint with water colors and poster paint.  We always were listening to music and dancing to it.  We went on excursions.  We housed all sorts of little critters.  Their father took them on camping trips, played sports and was great with all kinds of day excursions and trips.   We created things with glue and glitter.  We blew bubbles and colored sidewalks with chalk.

They were our focus and our joy.  I tell them everyday how much I love them.  I remind them everyday that they are beautiful.  They are strong and resilient.  They are loving and kind.  They are hard-working.  I tell them they possess everything good that exists in their father.  They are brave, hardworking and adventurous.  They are smart and crafty.  They have his gift in that they are popular and well liked.

Parenting them is easy because they make it easy.  I do not feel any self-sacrifice.  I haven’t allowed it.  I let them know this.  I have not given up anything and have pursued my personal goals with them in tow.  I can have a career and be a good mother.  I don’t care what anyone else has to say about that.  I do not resent them.  I do not see them as a burden or an impediment.  I would never want to guilt them.  Guilt is an acid.  If they want to eat cupcakes for breakfast I let them.  Ice-cream for dinner never hurt anyone.

I tell them to define themselves.  I tell them to find their joy.  I tell them not to worry about what I want.  I ask that they find themselves and be true to their spirit.  In spite of this I know they want to please me.  They decorate their own rooms.  They paint on their walls.  They are writing their own stories.

They make fun of me.  They know my faults.  They forgive me.  We know and accept each other.  I am amazed at their talents.  They are smarter than I am.  These individuals will accomplish more than I.  They are more daring and brave.  They know how to navigate these waters because I am constantly reminding them of this world’s evils and dangers.  I am the kind of mother that shows them how to poke out someone’s eyes.  I put pepper spray on their key rings.  I tell them about women’s rights.  I tell them it’s o.k. to leave.  They know the value of an education.

They love each other.  When they are home they fill the house with giggles and laughter.  There has been very little conflict in this house.  They like music, books, and flowers.  They are artistic, smart and kind. They are the best of friends.  They kiss and hug me goodnight.  They tell me they miss me.  They thank me when I make them a dinner or go grocery shopping.

I know for all of my human weakness and flaws I have given this world three amazing and beautiful women.  I am amazed that I was entrusted with their spirits.  I tell them I am proud of them because I truly am.

When the world seems so very dark and black, I picture myself holding three jars.  Each jar contains a soul of shiny bright light.  These jars of light keep me brave.  I have no fear.  I have no regrets.   They illuminate my path.  They bring me immense joy.

This world is a better place because they exist in it.