Wednesday, November 12, 2014

On being a mother

Story #1

I don't even bother checking the time as I stumble, still mostly asleep, from my bed towards little Eli crying in his crib. All I know is that it is past midnight, since that is when I was up last, but since it is still pitch black outside I know the night is far from over. In some ways that is a relief. Maybe this is the last time I will get woken up tonight, and maybe I will get a few hours of undisturbed, blissful, much-needed sleep. Maybe. (Although I know in my heart that is only wishful thinking.)

When I pick him up I snuggle him close, kiss his warm, fuzzy head, and get comfortable on the bed in the nursery where I sit and nurse him during these night feedings. My eyes are heavy, and once he latches I can't keep them open any longer. I don't realize I've fallen asleep until my head jerks up when my chin bumps into my collarbone.

By this time, my little man-cub is peacefully snoozing on my lap after drinking himself back to sleep, so I gingerly move him to his crib. I can never resist kissing his silky-soft cheeks before I leave. When I bend down, I can smell his sweet baby skin, and even though I'm dead tired I can't help but pause for a minute to marvel at his perfect, tiny little self. Every day I'm filled with awe that he is mine.

I stumble back to bed, trying not to disturb my sleeping husband, and sink back into sleep.

Story #2:

I can hear laughter coming from the other room, so I peek around the corner to spy on Dallin and Eli, who are playing on the floor while I try to get some things done. Gleeful baby giggles (the best sound in the world, hands down) erupt every time Dallin pretends to eat him up, which makes Dallin laugh in return, and this sequence is repeated over again until Dallin picks Eli up, squeezes and kisses him, and says, "I love you so much, little guy. We're going to be best friends!" And then I swoon and melt into a puddle all at once because I just can't handle how much I love those two boys of mine.

Story #3:

After changing his diaper, I sit Eli on the floor while I grab a fresh outfit. He happily starts playing with one of his favorite toys – an empty water bottle that never made it to the trash – and I take advantage of his contentment to spend a few peaceful (and much needed!) minutes reading. A few minutes later I pause to look up at him. The goofball is cheerfully alternating between chewing on his water bottle and blowing very wet raspberries that dribble past his pursed lips, down his chin, and onto his round baby belly. I can't help but laugh at him, all covered in slobber, and just as happy as can be. He is so perfectly innocent. 

I can't help but remember the fact that this sweet naiveté is only temporary. One day his world will include so much more than just playing, eating, sleeping, and seeing how big of a mess he can make when my back is turned. One day he will have to learn about the ugly and hard things the world holds. And while I take comfort in knowing that there will also be so much beauty to discover, and that our home can be a safe haven, I worry daily about how I will be a good enough mother. Often I wonder if I have it in me, but it makes me feel a little better when I remember that I don't have to do it alone. 


Ever since Eli was born I've had so many people ask me how it feels to be a mother. I usually opt for the short answer: "It's great, I love it!" And while that is true, it is so much more than that.

Motherhood is... gosh, how do I describe it? For me, it is a collection of extremes and paradoxes.

It is intense fatigue and equally intense joy.

It is difficult, and yet feels like second nature most of the time.

It is appreciating luxuries like undisturbed showers and solo bathroom trips more than I ever knew I would.

It is the hardest kind of work, both physically and mentally.

It is giving all I have and then realizing I still, miraculously, have more to give.

It is experiencing a kind of love I never knew existed.

It is beginning to understand how much Heavenly Father loves his children.

It is a thousand moments every day like the stories I mentioned above, a thousand heart-stretching moments of both struggle and bliss.

It's a wild ride, man. A ride I am thankful to experience.

1 comment:

  1. I just really love all of this. Motherhood makes everything so much...more. More joy, more worry, more stress, more laughter, more love, more everything. It's marvelous.