I spent this past Saturday stuck at home. Cleaning sheets, doing load after load of laundry, and most of all, loving on a sick little. The stomach bug hit around 2 in the morning in all its splendor. Around the clock nurturing was necessary and sleep became a distant friend for both Jordan and I.
Four years prior, on exactly the same date, June 28th, I was waiting on Samantha to arrive to no avail. Not able to sleep, and frustrated by still being pregnant. This past Saturday, having to cancel the sitter for one of my dearest friends 30th birthdays, I was struck with the reality that this is motherhood. This is it.
This is parenting. This is the behind the scenes, reality of being a mama. Its hard. This whole mama-ing thing. Its harder than you expect, and yet more beautiful than you can envision. 4 years ago, when I signed up for the gig, I really, truly had no idea what I was getting myself into. And yet, each and every day, I am completely mesmerized by these two little ladies bouncing around, giggling, in the back of my car.
They have completely changed me. Somedays I don’t even recognize myself in the midst of the diapers, and the drama. The girl that Jordan met at eighteen is so different than the woman I am becoming. I still see her, just a girl, in the glimpses and glances of my rearview mirror. But I also see them. These two we have made, these hearts and hands, these feet, and bodies that need loving and leading.
Its so confusing some days. I want to sometimes ask myself “What happened, how did I drift this far into this world of care-taking?” And sometimes on the hardest days I ask, “Have I lost myself in all of this?” You see, what no one can prepare you for, and what I still fight daily is the self-sacrifice piece. All their demands and desires.
Marriage, and Motherhood, these two have been the most humbling things I have done, and continue to do every single day. The girl at eighteen, the one singing Dixie Chicks “Wide Open Spaces” in her silver Jetta, was me. I still remember her too, I can close my eyes and taste what freedom tasted like. No responsibility, endless afternoons, and quiet evenings ahead.
These days in my SUV, Disney Radio is blaring and I find myself asking my oldest for the hundredth time to stop touching my youngest FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THINGS SACRED. “Keep your hands to yourself,” I repeat. And I look into the rearview, and laugh LOUD and think,
“When did I become such I a MOM?”
And then I remember, more than four years ago, October of 2009 when that pregnancy test burned positive. That’s when it began. The start of it all. Slowly, one day at a time, one new adventure at a time, led to pregnancy, birth, breast-feeding, and all-nighters. Four years, two girls later, here I am.
And who I am today is exactly who I want to be. I am a mom. I am a wife. This is my life. Two kids, temper tantrums, time-outs, drop offs, and pick-ups. Pre-school performances, play dates, park dates, potty-training, and parenting. Nursing, nurturing, and needing. Its beautiful, but its sure exhausting.
And yet, sometimes the expectations, the ideas we have for “what its really going to be” collide with the calling of parenthood, and we can cringe with what’s become, what we have become. And then I ask: “How do I hold on to me in the midst of it all?”
And then I pause, and see their faces, and hold his hand, and I say no to one more thing, and I say yes to them, and I fight my desires, and I lay it all down. I change one more diaper, I nurse one more time, I cook one more meal, and I clean the kitchen for what feels like the millionth time. I stay-at-home, and I raise this baby and this big girl, and I cheer on their daddy because THIS IS LOVE. THIS IS IT.
Motherhood: You are everything I dreamed you would be and MORE. You are making me into the realest, rawest version of my best self. I am so humbled, and yet so surprisingly happy by it all. Thank you for holding on when I feel like letting go, for everyday re-making me, over and over again. You are exhausting, and oh so ever enchanting. And everyday, your markings are making me into who I am supposed to be.