Motherhood. After 2.5 years (to the day) of this thing, and 3 years plus 2 days of (officially) step-mothering, I can confidently say that the challenges only speed up and the joys only intensify.
You think you’ve seen it all when a fully formed being slips out of the tiny space between your legs, but this miracle is only the beginning.
And I know that a thousand mommy blogs talk about this very subject every day, but I can’t help write about it, too. Because motherhood shakes up the parts inside that you didn’t know could move.
There are nights when you want to scream, and instead you cry into your pillow to protect the very person responsible for those tears. In the morning, you awake feeling instantly irritated with your precious child for keeping you up all night, but then she smiles at you with no reservations and you know what its like to fully forgive without a second thought. So you turn to coffee, even if you’re not a coffee drinker, or to any other substance that might keep you functioning through dinnertime, because you’ve fallen so miserably into a sleep deficit that you think you will never be the same again. And you won’t, and you’re grateful for it.
There are long car rides when your child won’t stop making requests in spite of your inability to satisfy most of them, so you reminisce about the good old days, when your toddler was a baby and content with silent observation, until you hear those blessed words, “I love you, mama,” and the appeal of the past fades away because nothing is as rich as the present.
There are moments of discovery, when your little one’s personality, opinions, and interests appear out of nowhere, like the bud of spring’s first flower. And you realize that no matter how similar or different she is from you, she will always be her own person and you’d better never try to change her.
There are glimpses of truth, like when your child says in all seriousness, “mama, you’re a princess, right?” And you see yourself, briefly, through your child’s eyes, and the momentousness of your role in this human being’s life is enough to bring you to your knees.
There are pockets of bliss, like when you watch your child bond with your loved ones; parents, siblings, best friends; and you know the truth about living: all you need is this, and this is love.
There are far too many outfit changes, and loads of laundry, and you wonder how you’re going to keep up with this child when she grows smarter than you. So you teach her everything you know while she still listens, and you pray every night that it will be enough.
There are times when your child will surprise you with his abilities and questions and conclusions, and you become terrified that your child is growing up and you might lose him before you’re ready, because you may never be ready.
There are moments of expansion, when your child comes up with things apparently out of nowhere, like playing rainbows and flying with fairy wings and drawing cats. Then, after a morning of make believe and slow walks and dubious baking projects, you sit down to do your work and creativity flows through you and out of you. And you wonder, who was I before this child came along and inspired me to be who I really am?
There are days when your child will test you and torment you, and you are shocked that such a little person could hold so much power. Until you realize it’s actually the love you have for her that gives her this power, and the love she has for you that makes you a real mother.