Ten years ago, I didn't believe in fate. And most certainly not romance. Love at first sight - blasphemy.
But that was then, then being just before graduating college. Before meeting my husband who fantasized about his elusive goal of romantic love.
Before ... becoming a mother.
Clarissa of yesteryear was submersed in the scientific world of animal science and career building research. Love, and other useless smut, was put on the back burner. A future family was not only out of the question, it wasn't even the beginning of a thought. Friends were fleeting - yes, I was a nerd. I was a five foot tall glass-less geek.
And then, there was he. He was a six-foot-one swimmer with dimples.
He asked for my hand after knowing me for a fast and furious fourteen days. He claimed me as his wife less than six weeks after that first date.
He also made me a mother, less than two years after we wed.
Motherhood wasn't in my plan. I remember that night. I had hemorrhaged. I was terrified.
What do you do with a baby, anyway? My teenaged years were spent in college classrooms instead of mock parenting at babysitting jobs.
But there she was in all her wet and gloopy glory. The nurse offered the baby girl to me - I shrank back in wide-eyed fear. My husband jumped at the chance to hold his daughter for the first of many times.
I watched over his shoulder as he taught me to coo and love that delightful little puppy. It's less intimidating to think of her as a baby animal.
It was a few short years later I found myself devastated. Consumed with the fear of losing my second child to an unknown disease, a poison that coursed through the veins of her tiny body. It was my husband who read to me late at night, every night, while we rocked her ravaged body. When morning would come, and the sun would settle her screams, he would soothe my own tears.
In two weeks, we will have reached the ten year mark. We have accumulated three degrees, birthed three girls, and moved three states away from our humble beginning.
Ten years before, at the time of then, I may have been a determined youngster but I was scared. Unsure.
Now, I've learned to leap without looking. To love without worry.
My husband gave me a children's book for Mother's Day, Courage. He tailored the message in the spare pages both before and after the actual story commending the role of both Motherhood and Womanhood.
Courage is being a Mother, he added. Another, Courage is editing that last chapter, again and again.
But I know a little secret, courage comes from being loved.