"Muuumm" the word echoes down the hall from my daughter's room. Her cries for me are heartbreaking...she's terrified...she's had a nightmare. I go in and comfort her and she slowly falls back to sleep.
"Mommy" the word whines at me while I'm doing dishes. "I eat, mommy?" And I glance down and repeat for the hundredth time that dinner is almost ready.
"ma ma ma" my baby coos at me while I tickle him and blow on his tummy. His eyes are bright and happy, his gurgles and baby talk melt my heart.
The first time I heard that word uttered from my child's mouth it felt foreign, wrong...I couldn't possibly be "mom" could I? Slowly the word began to seem appropriate...and slowly it became...me. I went through a true metamorphasis. From a caterpillar knowing only one world, his feet on the ground, crawling along, oblivious to the true majesty of all that is out there; to a butterfly scanning the world with new eyes, wings lifting it to places unexplored, a world once more filled with wonder. This is what it's like to become a parent... to become "mum, mommy, mama".
When your focus shifts to another person, when selfishness is washed away so completely that you no longer even ask to pee alone...the world is different. It's different because you have to show another person everything it has to offer. What once was so old, as to barely be noticed, is new and amazing again...the sound of the ocean crashing against the shore, the screech of a seagull as it sores through the sky, the view of the mountains from your small but adequate backyard...everything is noticed because your children see it, ask about it, marvels at it.
The clouds above our house are grey because it's going to rain; you can smell it in the air, before the rain hits the ground. Can you smell it, Gabe? I can. It smells fresh, and new... it smells like it did when I was your age.
Becoming a parent is like being a kid again, only with all the perks of adulthood. What could be better than that?