Motherhood is the most importat thing I'll ever do. I made a vow four times over and the commitment is for life. Each time I made the promise to the growing human inside of me, I was a different person.
The very first time I wasn't even a woman. In every essence I was still a girl, just coming into womanhood. That first time becoming a guardian of a soul I was frightened beyond belief. The fear of not only motherhood, but also of adulthood. In many ways I grew up with my first. During his "belly time" I took classes upon classes, read books, and interrogated my physician. I studied for the biggest test of my life.
Then when he came along, in his own sweet time, we went through the wild ride as partners. We took each new step together. Me with false brovado, protecting him from the monsters of the world.
By the time my fourth promise was made, I was an experienced warrior mama. I was no less frightened. The difference? I knew my foes and my fears were in knowing them. My sword of motherhood was well worn but no less sharp.
My older children complain a lot that I raise the younger two different. In many ways they are right. This is due to knowing my battlefield. The older two were hardly out of my sight, and I jumped at every potential danger. Holy Terror was born 10 years after my first two. They are allowed more mistakes and breathing room, because I know where the actual danger line is laid.
I just hope the older two realize that even though my tactics are different, my love is not. My bond with them is connected in a way that the younger two will never know. Just as my experience towards the younger is something the older two will never quite know.
There is no right answer to mothering. The stakes are so high and each soul is so different. A mother just has to make the vow and leap in with her weapons ready. Those weapons are knowledge, committment, hope, and most importantly love. Everything else can and should be forgiven when the child becomes the parent.
But what do I know...ask me in a couple generations and I'll let you know how they turned out.