Over the past few years, I’ve found it amazing to watch my friends become moms.  Some of these women sat with me in Science class at Kennedy Middle School, others made me practice doing shots of water so I’d be prepared for the real thing at college parties (I still wasn’t), and others still make me laugh until I cry when we go out for a glass of wine and unstoppable gossip. 

What intrigues me, aside from the fact that we’re even old enough to have procreated, is how motherhood has made almost every one of us even more ourselves than we started out being.   Our strengths have become exponentially stronger, and our weaknesses are magnified by sheer exhaustion.  Our senses of humor have expanded to include stories of blowouts and silly fights with our husbands, but their essence (usually sarcastic) is the same that it has always been. 

I spent a lot of time feeling very much like I had disappeared after having The Bean.  Aside from washing bottles, changing diapers, and mixing formula, what was left of me?  It took me a long time to realize that I’m still here, just with a new layer of experience that has changed me for the better.  My daily tasks might be completely different than anything I’ve ever done before, but I’m still the same girl.  I didn’t realize this until I saw myself reflected in the eyes of a good friend who I so admire.  She said, “Hey Fitz, you might be a mom all day, but you’re still the girl who couldn’t do a freaking shot of water in Claver Hall.” 

As funny as that might seem to some of you, it put everything into perspective for me.  I remembered who that college girl was, and she stood for the same things that I stand for today.  I am a woman with a child, but I haven’t stopped being myself.  The Bean has helped me to understand myself even more, and to strive to be better so I can be a worthy role model for her generous, lively spirit.  She is helping me to learn new things about both of us with each minute we spend in each other’s company, and I’m grateful for it.