Motherhood is a quick and complete submersion into a brand new, indescribable world. It is like nothing else. Yes, it is messy and at times terrifying, but it is also dazzling… blindingly beautiful. The moment that I looked upon the face of my newborn child, my life was transformed. In a split second, without even realizing the shift had occurred, I went from caring about myself to not even considering myself. I don’t need food if my baby is hungry…I can wait, he can’t. I don’t need sleep if my baby is crying… I am exhausted, but he needs to know that he can count on me to be there for him. I don’t need to go out… I would rather stay in and watch all of the tiny but entrancing changes that occur each day. The days pass too quickly, and by instinct I recognized that time would be over before I was ready.
The “discontent” bald spot on the back of his head where he rolled from side to side to see all around him grew back once he could sit up on his own… the fat rolls on his forearms and thighs stretched out over the thin arms and legs of the scampering three-year old who refused to sit down to eat more than three bites at a time. I didn’t dare take my eyes away lest I miss the slightest thing. All of the activity… the razzing lips that splattered drool down his chin and onto a soaked bib strategically placed there to keep his onesie dry… the death grip on my hair and my own fingertips gently prying the strong tiny hand away… Open mouthed kisses, crying and crying and crying for no reason except New Mommy hadn’t gotten the air bubble out with a burp. But then there was the quietness. Looking at my sleeping baby I would find myself taking tiny shallow breathes for fear of making any sound. The only sound I could hear was my own heart beating in my ears, pumping full of blood and so much love that I felt that I might explode with joy and pride… and the sound of little baby sighs of contentment that gave me peace that even in my lack of baby knowledge, I was maybe, just maybe, doing something right. All of the fear and the pain of pregnancy forgotten… and all things unpleasant forgotten. And then there was a baby girl, and a baby boy, and a baby girl. Four babies of my own to love and adore. My eyes never tired of seeing the changes… every new stage for each was like the first time for me too.
My babies grew, and there were other people and things and places that caught their attention. The day came when they went places where I could not follow… my mothering instincts give me a pang of worry, but my excitement for their new adventure won out and I waved goodbye with a smile and a blown kiss. Off to school… to play dates…to camp… now driving and dates. The children that were the center of my Universe are slowly moving inch by inch out of sight. And I am happy. I have done well it seems. They are happy and healthy and beautiful. I have ignored the advice that felt wrong, and I have loved with all of my heart, and I have preached many sermons on the importance of being kind to the captured, if not receptive audience buckled safely and securely in the car seats. “You all are blessed. You are talented, and smart and beautiful… but you must remember that the most important thing to be is kind. God doesn’t care what your ‘shell’ looks like. He couldn’t care less if you are tall or short or fat or skinny or black or white. God is looking at your heart and soul! He put us all here to be kind and good!” Proverbs 22:6 ” Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it.”
For the past couple of years my children have been learning a new lesson. Sometimes moms and dads should not be husband and wife. Some things are simply not meant to be. Sometimes it is better to have two homes than one when the one was without a model for how marital love should be. It is a hard life lesson… for everyone. The sound of clucking tongues fade away. As with all of life, with the shifting of the seasons comes rebirth and growth and change.
Raymond Carver wrote a poem titled “Late Fragment”. Upon his death at fifty the words were inscribed on his tombstone
~ And did you get what you wanted from this life, even so?
And what did you want?
To call myself beloved, to feel myself beloved on the earth.
My children are beloved. My husband and soul-mate Dean is beloved. My two beautiful “bonus” children are beloved. And I, as Mother and Wife are daily made to feel beloved. There is peace and joy and hope and love in my home and surrounding my children. That peace and joy and hope and love surround me. That is how it started on the day of their births, and that is how it will be. Everyday will not be perfect. But with each one of us other together and God holding us close we are blessed indeed. Thank you, God.
*This article was originally written almost a year ago. A few slight revisions were made…