It’s been a long week, and I have a plane to catch later tonight to head to a friend’s wedding (I’m not packed!).
This week, I strongly felt the intensity of motherhood—a surge of all the dormant emotions and a nice song and dance from the ones that tend to stay steady. The worries, fear and guilt swelled, but so did the love, celebration and gratitude, so I guess it evened out in the end.
Next week, it will have been seven years since my “I want to be a mom when I grow up” dreams came true. I used to think about being a mom a lot—probably more than most kids. When other teenagers were hitting Gadzooks for some midriff-bearing shirts, I was circling what stroller I wanted someday in the JCPenney catalogue. I knew what I wanted to name my babies twenty-five years ago—Crystal, Star, Stacey and Scott. Hey, things change.
What I didn’t realize was what happens behind the storybook pages—underneath the strollers and the names and the “Mom” title. I didn’t know how deeply love could hurt, how much I’d be changed by it. I didn’t understand that there was a another character that complemented my mom’s feed-us, take-care-of-us, do-fun-stuff-with-us side we saw every day. That at night, she sometimes cried for us, prayed for us, worried about us, planned for us, examined and reexamined her choices, wondering if they were the right ones for us. As my kids get older—and really, probably more likely as I get older and learn more about the world—I understand this more. That motherhood is so much more than reading books and going for walks and having tickle fights on the bed. But the best way for me to process the intensity and the hard parts is to read books, go for walks and have tickle fights on the bed. We don’t draw chalk rainbows and hula-hoop in the driveway because we think life’s a big unicorn. We do it because we know it’s not. We accept that it’s hard, demanding, sad and lots of times confusing, so we bring the rainbows and hula-hoops. And we color and twist our hips like it’s our job.
The same goes for motherhood.
It is hard, it is exhausting, it pushes our limits, it pulls our emotions. So we lean in to all of it and draw fuel for the Ebb from the excess of the Flow.
Every time I face challenges in motherhood, whether it’s exhaustion, frustration or sadness, I run for the hula-hoop. Hitch up the stroller for a walk, cue the music for a kitchen dance, watch them chase each other around the kitchen island in fits of giggles, play airplane from our bed, sketch hopscotch squares in the driveway, pull them into my neck and smell their cheeks, kiss their foreheads, feel them breathe. It doesn’t make the challenges go away, but it smoothes the path to go through them.
Our mothers went before us and their mothers before them. And through every generation, each of them worried about their children, the world that awaited them and all the things that could happen. Look at us now. We’re here. We’re mothers. We made it. We’ll make it.
Happy Mother’s Day to all of you who ever loved someone, hoped for someone or picked out baby names years before they were due.
Happy Mother’s Day to the loving friends who support the moms.
Happy Mother’s Day to my own village—the beautiful women I am lucky to call mine.
And to my babies—Crystal, Star and Scott.
I love you so.
There’s a lot of changing diapers and running out the door for preschool drop-offs in motherhood. But then are others–the moments that bring us to our knees. I’m over at BabyZone this week sharing some of those: 21 Raw Moments of Motherhood that Bring You To Your Knees.