How to Live with Your Heart Walking Around Outside of Your Body

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This post is sponsored by Disney’s Pinocchio. All opinions and the wish for my child are my own.

Ever think about what your greatest wish for your child might be? Do you want them to be smart? Successful? Healthy? Happy? Good human beings? Maybe all of thee above. When I was a child, I thought the tale of Pinocchio was just about a boy who lied and when he did, his nose grew. The moral of the story for me, as a child, was to not lie because it’s bad and liars get caught. So not worth it, plus, I didn’t want my nose to grow. I was vain so that lesson quickly stuck with me. Years later, that’s how I became “Truthful mommy.” I simply can’t lie because my face shows every thought that comes into my head. I think it’s a pretty awesome thing and it’s something I’ve taught my girls, the no lying part, the face betrayal is pure genetics (fortunately for me they’ve inherited that too).

As an adult, I’ve read the story of Pinocchio with my children and I see it with a fresh perspective. I see an even deeper aspect to the timeless story. I see a man desperate for a child; someone to love unconditionally. Geppetto wants what all parents want, his own little miracle.

From the moment I knew that I was pregnant and felt those first flutters and kicks, I’ve known that being a mother was a privilege. Sure sometimes I’m exhausted and the minutia of motherhood makes me feel like I’m a little bit brain dead. But, then out of nowhere I’m inspired or flabbergasted and other times I’m just outright amazed by the way they move through the world. They truly are miracles to me. Don’t get me wrong, they can also be a handful. It’s certainly not always sunshine and rainbows but I totally see why Geppetto wished on a star to make his puppet son a real boy. Nothing can substitute the love shared between a parent and a child.

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When I was younger, I always knew that when I grew up, I wanted to be a mom. I come from a big family; 6 children. I like to call us the Mexibilly Brady Bunch, only we all came from the same set of Catholic parents. I’m the Marsha of the family. Children have always been a part of my life. I was always the girl who went to family/friend gatherings and spent a bulk of my time entertaining the children. It was all I had ever known and I knew one day, I wanted my own children to love.

I grew up, got married and eventually had a couple little girls of my own. There is nothing quite like motherhood. You can babysit a million children, read every book and watch every movie and it still never prepares you for being a mother to actual children. First, you are overwhelmed with all the heart-exploding love that you never even knew existed in the world that you feel for said ooey, gooey baby from the instant you see them. And forget about it once they put that baby in your arms, you are done for. There is no recovery from that kind of love. Instant and eternal addiction.

Then complete and overwhelming, all-encompassing fear because holy moly you realize this baby is perfection and you have absolutely no idea what you are doing and the last thing you want to do is mess up the most perfect thing you will ever do in your life. When the doctor said I could go home from the hospital with my first baby, I was overcome with sheer panic because what were they thinking? I felt like the world’s biggest imposter. I was terrified. None of my experiences up to that point had prepared me for what I was feeling in that moment.

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Then more fear because, oh my goodness, I love this little person more than anything I’ve ever loved in my entire life and now they are out in the world, exposed to the elements; the crazy (all the crazy), global warming, sharp edges and mean people (people who could hurt their feelings or worse). And what if I messed it up and she stopped breathing or I couldn’t feed her or I dropped her (all of which happened by the way) or the list was endless of ways that I could damage her? That’s when it hit me like a train, loving someone has no guarantees. Being able to love someone so precious so much comes with a price and that price is the uncertainty that it will all be alright. The price for great love is great pain if it’s ever lost but it’s totally worth the risk. Once you’ve seen your child look at you like you are the best thing in the world, you will die, kill and risk it all just to see them smile; everything else becomes meaningless when you have that kind of clarity. When you give love to a tiny human, you accept the responsibility and you never look back, only forward.

Geppetto’s wish for Pinocchio was that he became a real boy. How could he not? I have two wishes for my daughters and they are these: health and happiness. Sounds simple, right? Not so much because one day I may find myself confronted with the choice of watching my child choose a path that might not be what I would have chosen for their happiness, but it’s not my life to live. I am only the giver of their lives but it is their lives to live.

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Sometimes we have to watch our kids struggle before they reach their goals. That’s how they learn to work for their dreams. That’s how they learn to become who they are meant to be. That letting go to let them grow up is almost impossible but it’s part of the unwritten parent/child agreement.

I can keep my daughters healthy and happy in my house because I control the climate but once they get out in the world, I can only be there to catch them when they stumble. I will always do all that I can to help them make their dreams come true but I can’t do it for them because then the happiness will lose its effect.

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So my wish for my girls is all the happiness that the world has to offer them. I teach them to go for their dreams. I teach them to pursue their joys and to never be afraid to change their expectations because sometimes life and happiness don’t fit neatly into a box. Life is messy and beautiful and I just want my girls to be open to enjoying every single moment of it.

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New to The Walt Disney Signature Collection, the movie that inspired the world to wish upon a star, Pinocchio is a timeless tale for the whole family. Bring home this magical story of friendship and epic adventure now on Digital HD & Disney Movies Anywhere, on Blu-ray Jan 31. Pick up your copy here. It includes hours of new and classic bonus content.

This is the wish for my child, what do you wish for yours?

 

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