I became a mother 11 years, 6 months and 7 days ago and as promised, I’ve never been the same. For most of us motherhood is all of the things that you read about and see on TV. You do fall madly in love with your baby; often crying at the very sight of him unable to believe that that you could love someone so much. There are the sleepless nights, panic over why she’s still crying after she’s been fed, changed, burped and is diligently being rocked in the glider that you purchased just for her! As they get older there is the horror of the exploding diapers, the joy of their first steps and the wild celebration that erupts after they pee on the potty for the first time.
At a recent “Mother’s Day Tea” at my daughter’s kindergarten class one by one with the help of their teacher, sixteen adorable six year olds read the Mother’s Day book that they had written aloud to their classmates and honored guests. As it happened my daughter read her book first and of course I beamed as her teacher read and as my daughter looked back and forth between me and her book, making sure to catch my every reaction to her heartfelt outpouring of love for me. It was a wonderful moment and I felt so grateful to be the mother of the lovely, smart and very poised little girl that was standing in front of me. Some of the other mothers cried when their children read their books to them and I wondered why I hadn’t been moved to tears as well.
In thinking about the things involving my children that do make me cry, it occurred to me that it was the things about motherhood that you don’t often read about or see on TV that usually does it. Things like turning on the radio and listening to the Taylor Swift song “Love Story”, to which I now know all the words, because my daughter belts it out every time it comes on the radio. It’s not the song itself that makes me cry but the image of my daughter singing it knowing that one day when she’s older we’ll hear it on the radio and she’ll ask me to turn the station; not remembering or willing to admit how much she used to love the song or the way she completely identified with the princess in the song’s lyrics. Or when I talk with my 11-year-old son about why he’s not allowed to watch TV during the week and the importance of putting his best effort into everything he does; and he looks at me like I’m ruining his life. The tears don’t come from the look he gives me, they come from the anxiety that I feel when I fear that he may never realize that we’ve taken these positions with him because we love him beyond words and just want him to have good work habits and success in his life.
The sweet and sentimental moments with my children warm my heart, but it’s the real life moments, the ones that happen at fifty miles an hour, when I begin to grieve the passing of a particular stage of my child’s development, or when I know they can’t see the benevolence behind my actions and I worry that their lack of understanding will translate into the utterly false notion that they are not loved unconditionally, that gets the tears flowing.
In truth motherhood is at times a very thankless job. An aspect of the job gets a lot less media attention!
However despite the anxiety and the constant second-guessing, it is my greatest privilege and for me clearly the reason I was put on this earth. So today I’m going to finish the laundry, vacuum and make my kids clean their rooms. But tomorrow I’m going to get breakfast in bed, hand made cards and more hugs and kisses than I can stand. For me this is motherhood, this is my life, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
So for those of us who “take one for the team” on a daily basis, enjoy the one day that is reserved for the “team” to take for us and have a happy Mother’s Day.