“Mother is the word for God on the hearts and lips of all little children.”
- William Makepeace Thackeray
Motherhood is such a strange and beautiful phenomenon, and with it comes an even stranger feeling of unknowing and confusion. While I had wanted to write something inspiring for Mother’s Day, I found myself completely at a loss for describing all the elements I have come to know motherhood to actually be, at least in my life. What I came up with was a myriad of thoughts and feelings which individually have significance, and when you add them all up, they are a beautiful complex mess.
So, without further ado, here is my way of explaining motherhood:
It’s sleepless weeks, and months on end with a newborn rocking them to sleep and feeding them through the night. It’s enduring the shrill sound of screaming back to back with no real way to help for 12 hours because your child has GERD and you don’t know that yet. Those fear filled worry ridden nights where your child has a fever of 102 or above, and the alternating medicines isn’t working. The time when they learn to lift their head and hold it there without falling. It’s the first infectious giggle of laughter from their tiny little mouths. The smell of their baby shampoo in their hair while they are curled up on your tummy. Their super soft baby skin that feels like satin and smells like lavender. The “hurt” cry for mommy when they have an unseen boo-boo that only your kiss can make it all better. It’s finding a way to laugh when you’re so furious your eyes are literally red. It’s the sheer exhaustion overtaking every cell in your body, but you still get up every morning because that little person needs you to be their rock. Feeling helpless to whatever random virus they have caught, and just doing whatever you can to make them feel better while they are vomiting everywhere and all over everything. It’s the strength to smile when you just want to break out in tears from the sheer stress of it all. It’s patiently reminding your child to take each bite of food at every meal, because her oral motor delay makes chewing feel so exhausting and she just won’t eat on her own. It’s having hope that someday she’ll raise above the fifth percentile and not struggle with being underweight. It’s knowing that you can’t tickle too long because then the hiccups come, and after that their reflux will trigger vomiting. It’s the unconditional love you feel for this human being who is a little piece of you mixed with a lot of magic. It’s nights spent alone, in complete silence because the kids are finally in bed and you are too emotionally and physically drained from the day to actually even hear another sound. It’s the excitement you feel when they finally learn how to read. The absolute joy you feel when they finally have a day where they are not swinging at you, or screaming that you’re talking too much when you only asked how their day was. The pride you feel when they draw their first picture of a happy family. It’s the feeling of understanding when you see something in your child that you also struggle with. It’s the moment when they look at you and say, “I love you so much, Mommy.”
It’s all these moments, and many, many more that add up to being a mother. There are hard times, easy times and in between times… but I wouldn’t trade any of it. I have a deep and exuberant love for my children that has invaded every cell in my body, and I only hope that someday they may recognize me for the mother I am, the sacrifices I have made for their well being and what I have done to enrich their lives and help them grow into wonderful human beings.