As the second oldest with four siblings below me I was no stranger to babies. In fact I once put approximately 25 drops of green food coloring into my little brothers bottle so he would drink it. And he did! He also throw up and pooped turquoise green for the next few days and I was warned of the dangers of "food color poisoning". I was practically a baby myself (11 yrs old) at the time so the concept of mothering to me was the same as playing house.
But now I'm playing house for real (sans baby) and its not so much play as it is work. And while the thought of mothering still seems like "pretend" to me, I am one step closer as I picked up my nephew Bane for the first time and watch him lock his eyes on me. My heart got warm and my eyes a little wet as I held this little miracle in my arms. A little piece of my baby sister.
And then I watched my sister be a mother. No longer pretending. She was such a natural, even in her learning. She wasn't scared. She was brave and selfless, just like she has always been. The love poured out of her heart and straight into her arms as she held him tight. I thought of all the mothers in my life, my grandma's, my mother, my mother-in-law and now my sister and I became overwhelmed with love and respect for the sacred calling that is motherhood.