No one told me.
"What makes a parent, I understood at that moment, is not so much genetics, but all the other things you give. Anyone can be a parent, but to be a mom or a dad, that takes years of giving with no thought of getting." (Unknown)
When you are a kid, everyone tends to ask the infamous question: What do you want to be when you grow up?
For me that was easy, I wanted to be a teacher. I wanted to work with kids of all ages and teach them the wonders of the world. I would practice on my brothers and sisters, and let me tell you, there were plenty of them! I was the oldest of eight children at home at one point.
...I remember living on Maple Street in Bridgeport, first floor apartment. Our family had access to the basement, and I remember my parents putting an old couch down there and other extras we had around the house. I remember them getting their hands on a huge green chalkboard for me and putting it in the basement as well. It was all I needed to make my "classroom" official. I would have stack of worksheets and paper that the teachers would disposed of at the end of the year. I had pencils and crayons and stickers and coloring books. I would bring my siblings down to the basement, in a single file, and "teach" them. Lol those where the good ol' days.
... I remember, as a grew older, still wanting to be a teacher, but most of all, I wanted to be a mom. I mean I had the experience down packed with my siblings! My youngest sister and brother were like my own. Being ten years + older than them, I was my mother's helper. I would feed them, change diapers, and put them to sleep. They were my babies then, and as they grew older, I still had the attachment because I pushed myself to do good in school to be the example for them.
But you see, no one told me being a parent was not as easy as they portrayed it to be.
No one told me about sleepless nights where, I would stay at my child's side to make sure I heard him and her breathing.
No one told me about the constant worrying when my child was not at my side because I had to go back to work to be able to provide for them.
No one told me about the heart ache I would feel when I was told my daughter had leukemia and about the emptiness that still lingers due to her passing away.
No one told me it would be a struggle between the mind and the heart because even though you know better, your heart will always overpower it.
No one told me how exhausting and overwhelming it would be to raise children in this imperfect world.
And though no one told me, I learned.
I learned the only way I know how to and that is by going through it. Times get difficult and I am hard on myself. I tend to place blame on myself when things go wrong; even when they are not in my control. I need to remind myself that I have done and continue to do everything possible for my children. I need to remind myself that I am human and I am allowed some mistakes. I need to remind myself that I am doing the best that I can.