Some moments overwhelm me with a flawless combination of pride, beauty, and joy. And love. The unconditional, protective, all-consuming kind of love. I watch in wonder as he plays on my lap, by my side, on the playground. I stare at his freckles, his smile. His wide open eyes. I swell up with the most pure mama’s love when he giggles. It’s impossible not to laugh with him.
These are not the all-day, every-day moments. But they’re so precious and unforgettable. Until the other kind arrive.
The other moments are ugly and challenging, like no other kind of hard I’ve experienced in life. I feel loud yet muffled, unheard. Hidden in plain sight. I feel worn out, completely exhausted. Utterly broken and on the kitchen floor.
But giving up is never an option. So I sit for a bit and then I get myself up off the dirty kitchen floor. I can’t quit so I learn to brace myself. I am determined to constantly learn and change and grow. If patience grew on trees, I would paint my thumb green and become the most diligent gardener. Surely I could grow a forest in my backyard. Right next to the money trees.
Since patience takes practice and self-awareness, I wait. I stop. I pray fervently and honestly. I need God’s help. Pretty much all the time. I promise my boys and myself to do better. God works on my weakened and stubborn heart. Kneading it. He stretches me, softens me and beckons me to forgive myself when I fall short because my boys need a mama who loves herself, too.
It’s the beauty and the pain of motherhood. They go hand in hand. One big hand squeezing tightly onto the little one. Brand new cries filled the room after my boys tilted their tiny heads back to reach their first breaths. The cries of my babies and the much-anticipated cries of me, the scared and excited new mama.
The cries may evolve, but they carry on throughout their lives. The happy, overwhelming, beyond grateful tears. Or the tears of failure and sadness. The tears of growth and change. The motherhood highs are record breaking. And the lows burrow deep beneath the surface.
The mother’s days seem long, then oh, so short. The hours drag on or do the precious moments suddenly disappear? There are no more tantrums on the stairs. There are new tears. Tears of inadequacy or uncertainty or failure. No matter the hour, the mama will be there. Always on call. Tirelessly yet gratefully working a shift that will never end. The love never runs out. The worrying won’t stop. And thankfully, the unique and unexplainable joys outweigh the fears, frustrations and doubts.
Happy, beautiful, sad, lonely, growing, painful and heart-tugging mothers days. These are the real mother’s days. All the mother’s days.