Monday, April 6, 2015

Hey Mom...I Mean Mrs. Womack...

As many of you know, I'm a teacher by trade.  Maybe more like a teacher by nature.  I spent 4 years in the states teaching middle school band and then for the 18 months we lived in Dominica I worked at the prep school on campus and then ran a Kindergarten co-op out of my home for a semester.  I just naturally gravitate to opportunities that allow me to care for and teach kids.  I told myself I would *maybe* make a little money being a standardized patient in Dominica, but that was it.   I was going to be a "Caribbean Housewife".   Not surprisingly it only took about 6 weeks for me to get sucked into working at the prep school, and from that point until literal hours before we left the island, I was surrounded by kids.  Teaching is my thing.  Kids are my thing!

For these 8 years of my life while I've been waiting for my own sweet babies to get here, teaching and babysitting and snuggling little ones has filled the "mommy void" for me.  As irritating as it was for my Kindergarteners to grapple for and fight over who got to hold my hand sometimes, secretly it made my heart happy that they wanted to be so close to me.  I can't count how many times I've held a child in my arms, infants all the way up to 6-7 year olds, and they've fallen asleep on my shoulder or against my chest.  My mommy friends would mouth silently to me "Do you want me to take her/him?" and my answer was/is always no.  The sweetness of a sleeping child in your arms is quite possibly one of the most satisfying things in the world.  A tiny fist wrapped around your pinky finger, a bear hug to the thigh, a little one climbing into your lap...all those things were and are intoxicating to me.  Just further evidence that motherhood and nurturing babies is a strong component of my DNA...

Teaching middle school was a venue I never thought would really trigger my "mommy-ing" instincts.  I thought middle schoolers were much more independent and less in need of a "mommy figure" at school.  Boy was I wrong!  How many times did I hear across my band hall, "Hey Mom!...Uh...I mean Mrs. Womack!" and the giggling would ensue.  How many kids came and sat behind my desk with me to bear their souls, joke around, or simply just hang out?  My heart was always so proud when my kids succeeded in whatever they set out to do, but deep inside it made me happiest when they would say "Mrs. Womack, you're my favorite teacher!" or "You were more than a teacher to me."

As the news of my pregnancy has crept across social media, I've heard from several of my former middle school students.  Many of which are about to graduate high school...where did the time go??? Several of them have messaged me remembering the loss I suffered back in September 2009.  Some have reminisced about how hearing that news made them "feel like they had lost a brother or a sister".  But all of them are over the moon excited to see that I'm expecting a baby now.  "Mrs. Womack you're gonna be such a great mom.  You were always like a mom to us!"  Brings a tear to my eye every time...

I am who I am and I will be the mother that I will be here in a few weeks because of this army of children who have wandered in and out of my life over the years.  From freshly born to "tough high schoolers", they've all had a part in shaping my Mommy heart.  I've gotten the privilege of getting to "practice" motherhood.  I've had to scold and then teach lessons.  I've had to put bandaids on boo-boos.  I've had to give tough love.  I've had to learn and implement compassion.  I've challenged kids to reach their full potential.  I've had to know when a child just needs someone to wrap them up in a hug.  I've shed tears over their hurts.  I've rejoiced in their successes.  I've been wholly blessed by their impact on my life!

Greysen Womack is a lucky little dude.  He's had lots of pseudo siblings come before him!  When I talk about my teaching experiences, I still refer to all my munchkins as "my kids".  Because for a moment in time they were.  Perhaps, on some level, they still are.  Even the ones who are mini grown ups now.  I know I am not prepared for the intensity of love that I will feel when they place my own baby in my arms.  But I'd like to think I've been blessed with little slices of that mommy love with all "my kids" across my career and my life.  I've been "Mommy" to so many...and now it's time for me to be Mommy to my very own!

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