I have loved all of my babies. I'm sure of it.
But this time is different, and the difference is ME.
My first baby, I tried too hard to do everything "right," by the books, as if there is such a thing. I was worried, awkward, and unsure about my own identity as a mother, HOW to mother, if I even loved BEING a mother. Don't get me wrong, I loved, loved, LOVED my baby, but it took awhile to bid my carefree, selfish life, goodbye. Until I did, I couldn't fully embrace the mother in me.
The next three babies came so fast (this was a choice). All less than two years apart. Lots of babies, lots of basic needs, lots of survival mode, but not without lots of love that I tried so desperately to shower on them, amidst the chaos. This time of my life was all about learning to establish boundaries. I was not good at boundaries. I wanted to be a fun mom, so I thought I had to be lax about a lot of things. BIG MISTAKE. (I will be forever grateful for a true friend who had the courage to tell me, lovingly, that my "boundaries" were nonexistent.)
I've since changed my tune. I can still be FUN, but I've learned to be FIRM. Furniture is NOT a trampoline or a jungle-gym. Your pee MUST stay IN the toilet or YOU clean it, there are times/places where being wild is okay, and times/places where it's not, etc. Of course, my children are angels who hang on my every whim and delight to honor me. Hah, tell me another one! We try our best like everyone else. We screw up like the best of them. But, we're "becoming" and that takes time.
With Sam, I feel like so many of my mothering-wrinkles are smoothed out. I'm not wrinkle-free by any stretch, but I've found my groove and I'm okay with myself.
I'm free to enjoy being a mom.
I'm free to be head over heels excited about Sam's two little bottom teeth coming in.
I'm free to be thrilled that he's rolling over.
(And I can laugh when he gets so mad that he can't roll back, and his little arms are flailing out on both sides while his face is planted in the rug. But don't worry, the face plant is relatively short-lived. I'm always there to help the fella roll back over. And there's usually a nice little booger waiting for me in one of his nostrils).
I'm free to just be me.