I am tomboy. I am Narnian High King, make-believer, conqueror of backyard worlds (sword and shield sold inseparably). I am Peter Pan, Luke Skywalker, just try to keep my feet on the ground. Play house? Well, okay. Me, play the Mom?
I am tree climber. I am swaying-on-thin-branches-at-the-top-of-the-tree climber. I am cashew snatcher, elbow scraper, ground scorner. Look, Mom, no hands! Look at me, Mom?
I am story teller. Crafter of words and worlds. The words are mine, I hold them for ransom until they take me to their treasure, any world far away from here. Do I have to come home? Do I have to, Mom?
I am star gazer. In love with the stars, the study of, the Creator of. Perhaps… also in love. I am student by day and night, dreamer in between. I am date schemer, he is future perfect, and God is SO AMAZING!!! (I am exclamation abuser, guilty as charged.) Perhaps one day, he, Dad, and I, Mom?
I am wife and lover. Creative and clever, witty and winsome. Romance is my specialty. Candlelight optional, bike helmet required. Each day, pink pill popper, definitely wouldn’t want to be an early Mom…
I am bike rider. Five miles a day, wearing grooves between house and school, church and grocery store. I am reckless, invincible, wild and free, wind in my hair (okay, wind in my helmet, don’t worry, Mom).
I am The Pregnant One. Health nut (calorie counter), safety nut (bus rider). Counting down the hours to the biggest day of my life, and I can’t even schedule it. Just like my wedding: plan nine months, deep breaths calm the butterflies, whirlwind 24 hours, then start life together. What was it like for you? How did you handle the pain? Will I be as brave as you were, Mom?
I am Mom. In one dizzying night, a labor of love. Why oh why is that head so big? How can they make fingernails so small? Baby is fragile, and I am clumsy. Mom-I-Am.
I am Mom. Post-Pregnant One. The strongest muscle of my body won’t be used again for a while (I hope). The rest are jiggly from underuse and extra water. Lots of water. Everything is wet. Baby’s midnight tears mix with mine. I am Mom, and it hurts.
I am Mom. Night-riser, sob-soother. Hands lost somewhere between rubbing my eyes and pounding my stiff neck. I imagine the Moon is missing me. Everyone is afraid to ask… new eyeshadow, or did I trip while wearing binoculars? I am star gazer?
I am Mom. I am made of Love, so much love, it pours out of me. I never dreamed I could love someone so completely, so unprovoked. Is this what it feels like to be God? Laughs and smiles, fingers and toes, cuddles and kisses fill the heart I’m wearing on my sleeve. I am Lover… and I am wife?
I am Mom. Weight-lifter, expert juggler, eyes glued permanently to the back of my head. Cursed to crawl on my belly and eat dust all my days. Tummy Time Titlist. I am tree climber?
Mom-I-Am. Pop-Hopper, Cat-Hatter. Roar!… I’m a dinosaur! Where’s Waldo, and why is he wandering off again? The words resign themselves to be simple for now, brown cow, nuance is neglected. I am story teller?
I am Mom. Trailer shopper, I can’t bear to bike alone. Impatient for the head circumference to fit the smallest helmet I can find. Don’t remember those cars being so fast, so reckless. I am bike rider?
I am Mom. Playing house 24/7. Jedi reflexes catch the full spoon on its way to the floor. Haven’t seen my shadow in days. The High King can come out and play after she’s finished nursing… sometime next year. I am tomboy?
Maybe not. Maybe I’m the background for now. Maybe I’m the arms pushing the swing, the leg-up into the tree, the training wheels, the power behind the day’s PB&J, the chauffeur of the minivan, the gentle push from the nest. And maybe that’s okay.
A quarter century ago, someone took to the sidelines to give me the field for a life full of fun. Now I think I’ll do the same for a while. It’s his turn now. Will he be tree climber? Star gazer? Story teller?…
Melissa (Haegert) Dykhuis (’10) lives in Lafayette, Colorado, with her husband Nathan, cat Sophie, and sons Matthew and Jonathan. She graduated from Calvin with a physics degree and then got a PhD in planetary science from the University of Arizona in 2015. After years of science, she’s ready for science fiction again and is currently writing and editing young adult sci-fi novels.