I darted across the threshold, my feet hitting the smooth surface of cold tile. Tears were streaming down my cheeks while my fingers fumbled with the lock on the back of the door. After just a few days home as a new mom, the tiny space behind me was quickly converted to my sanctuary. I was looking for something. A moment. Space to be me. Time to be alone. A little of each was all I needed and in that small bathroom in the middle of the night, that’s what a clung to. It was the cat that was the last straw, jumping on my pillow and leaving no space for my own head that sent me darting to the restroom. With a worried knock at the door and subsequent reassurance that I only needed a few minutes of time without anyone needing me, touching me, or taking more of my personal space, it was my inauguration into motherhood–those first moments where a mother’s tug-o-war began and where I knew my time, my body, my life where no longer my own.
The thread woven throughout the lives of moms everywhere, the thing that connects us all, is that no matter the story, the background, the walk of life or history that we come from, a mama’s love outshines any plan we may have had. It outweighs any other choice that’s ours to make, though it’s often an almost overlooked and thankless “job.”
I began writing this post as evening hours ticked on, my eyes falling sleepily over the keyboard, but instead of giving in to the stillness that was trying to overtake my body, I press on knowing there’s something in my heart to write out. And so it begins… the stare at a blank screen of white, the click of the keyboard and subsequent backspacing, then a few words stick and a flow begins. Yet, just as those moments began to unfold, so did an evening of two little boys needing their mama. Naturally, a post and heartfelt writing on motherhood takes a back burner to real motherhood, and so this post was shelved. It waited for it’s day to be dusted off and it’s pages opened, its blank slates written, and a mother’s heart revealed as she writes, unknown emotions being found and feelings being exposed to the writer just as much as to the reader.
And now, as I sit for the second time to write, my view is of a pool filled with eight legs splashing and kicking about… and all of people whom I love, who mean the most to me in this world. My three little ones and their daddy. The scene in front of me makes my heart smile, that big mama smile that starts deep in the heart and spreads its way through to the upturn of lips.
Of course, I can tend to wear my heart on my sleeve at times and ride the wave of emotions and “big moments” like an old wooden roller coaster, with highs and lows and altogether too many bumps along the way. The ride can be fun, and yet jarring–and as any parent knows, most of the most amazing moments are both at the same time.
The juxtapositions of motherhood is a funny things really. I think we as mothers have about as many “firsts” as our kids do, with contrasting emotions all along the way. The first time we get to get out of the house for an evening, without diapers or baby food, and yet not even ten minutes into the night we’re missing the curl of their bodies into our chest and the milky scent of their hair. The first time we actually wish we could be sick, were it possible to take it from our little one’s body. Each and every time we smile with pride, and yet simultaneously try to squeeze the sands of time a little tighter in a vain effort to hold on.
From that first night of finding sanctuary and solace alone in a bathroom, even if it were for a few shorts minutes and with a worried husband on the other side of the door, to having three wee ones that fight for what room is left of my lap as another bun is growing to claim that space, and every moment in between–that’s motherhood. The beautiful, glorious, chaotic, gift of motherhood… and I wouldn’t trade it for one care-free moment without them. Each time we escape to the restroom to find a minute with our own thoughts, or have a cry on our closet floors, each worry or stress line that shows on our faces or cup of coffee to curb the exhaustion, they all take a backseat to the absolute joy and thrill of the ride, and that is what I want my kids to know. I think every mama would say the same thing.
Gather any group of mom’s together in a room and we can laugh about not having privacy or shrug off the crazy things we hear come out of our own mouths. Even while throwing our hands up at the top of the roller coaster, we feel the weight of being in the trenches. So to all of you mothers, I want to say, you’re enough. You’re the brave ones. You’re the heroes. To all of the boo-boo kissers, the edge-of-the-bed sleepers, the quick shower-ers, the cold coffee drinkers, the mixed emotion feelers, thank you. In case you didn’t hear it today, you deserve it, a “thank you” over and over again.