I don't think that I am a "natural" when it comes to parenting. For a while I thought that the whole instant, all-consuming, blinding love as soon as your baby was handed off into your arms was a myth, some part of the whole mommy-guilt package, something you were "supposed to feel" but that no one ever really did. But now, after having more friends have children of their own and say without hesitation that they did in fact have those feelings, I realize that I was wrong. I just didn't feel that way. I've talked about this before, especially after having Laine, and I always have a pang of guilt writing about it. Don't get me wrong, I felt a fierce kind of motherly love that I never experienced before the second I knew I was pregnant, let alone when I finally got to see my little ones face to face. But it felt more instinctual, more like protectiveness and ownership, less like "love". It took me weeks, even months, to fall in love with my babies as little people rather than just my offspring.
So, no, I don't count myself among the "naturals". But what I know I am is a GOOD mommy. Because while I may not have fallen head over heart over heels with my little pink, squalling, cone-headed newborns, I really and truly LIKE my children. I find the experience of parenting fascinating, almost like an incredibly consuming but equally as rewarding hobby. I devour parenting magazines and books, scour calendars and websites for activities we can all enjoy together, delight in other people's stories and experiences and pictures. I feel genuine excitement when we get new toys and clothes and books for the kids, and I love rediscovering things from my childhood that I can share with them (I spent hours on ebay over the past few days trying to find Disney DVDs for Laine).
So while the patience and the sweetness that seems to come so easily to some other mothers may not be natural to me, I can honestly say that I enjoy the time I spend with my kids. I feel like I know them now, better than I've ever known anyone else in my life. Laine is smart, charming, funny, precocious, and full of spunk. Lawton is a ball of joy, independent and wiggly, ready with a smile from the moment he wakes up in the morning. And they both have brought more joy into my life than I even imagined as they blinked up into my eyes for the first time.