It is a source of pride – my own medal that will be with me always. It took two attempts, each many months of hard work with great reward in the end. I don’t flaunt it, that would be uncouth. But if I slip and it is seen, I don’t rush to hide it. My medal, my badge of motherhood….my stretch marks. They are my proof and even though I didn’t ask for them, did all I could to prevent them, they were bestowed upon me. I used to be ashamed of them, their silvery white fingers reaching up slightly from the lowest part of my abdomen. No lotions, potions, or creams will ever make them go away. When my body is tanned they take on a translucent, ghostlike appearance, but they are still there, as a reminder to what is really important. My babies.
No matter how old they get or how big they grow, they’re still my babies. They are my passion. I peek into their rooms at night when I can’t sleep, standing in the doorway of their rooms, and I watch them. Their faces are relaxed and serene and the steady rise and fall of their chests as they breathe assures me that they are really real and that I’m not in a dream of my own. I’ll sometimes sit on the edge of Girl’s bed and take her limp hand in mine. Even in her sleep, she instinctively curls her fingers around my own. Boy sleeps like a rock and usually curled up tight with his tattered stuffed dog in one hand and Batman in the other. My little superhero. I love to lean down and get close for a whiff of his scent. Clean or dirty, only Boy smells like Boy.
I ache to give them the best life has to offer. I do my best but sometimes I don’t feel it’s good enough. Did my bad day rub off on them? Did I snip when I should have smiled? Can I add an extra hour to the night time so I can spend it just with them? I want the weight of responsibility and reality to fall off of my shoulders so I can sit and read a book with Boy. Can I add 10 more minutes to the morning? Girl wants momma to braid her hair. Nobody can do it like momma.
They are so innocent and so pure. Funny and spirited. I love to get down on my knees, down to Boy’s level and see the world as he sees it. To look up and wonder what’s out there? I’m envious of their future and the opportunities to discover their destiny.
My badge of motherhood is an honor I wear with quiet dignity and with thanksgiving.