Instead of bemoaning how much life Les Mis is sucking out of my soul, let's have a happy post since it's Mother's Day!
I used to be a pretty emotional person (okay, I'm still a pretty emotional person) but I'm usually not that mushy gushy about things. I'm grateful for all the happiness in my life, but I don't need to be all *special* about it. For instance, after I had Natalie a common question was, "Isn't it just so wonderful being a mom?" Of course the answer is a resounding YES, but it also seems like a silly question because of course it's wonderful, I've been dreaming of this for the past 20 years, and to finally have my own literal offspring is beautiful and thrilling, so sharing it with my husband is even more wondrous. However, it's also where I am in my life right now: the MOM stage, particularly the raising small children part. This is my "normal" for the next however many years, but I don't want to make it sound like it's boring or rote or even something I'm obligated to do; rather, I'm committed to being a good mother and loving my children and that's that, more than some sappy "A Mother's Love" type poem, you know? ...I feel like I'm not explaining myself well.
Maybe this is a better description: my days are full of diaper changes, giggles, throwing bananas off the high chair, bonking heads on the furniture, peeking in during naptime, lots of hugs and kisses, learning new things, stroller walks, and the sigh of contentment when the baby is asleep for the night. I love the work that it takes to take care of a baby, and I think that's what I'm getting at: my life is a big bundle of 24/7 Natalie right now, and in the fall she will squeeze over to make room for 24/7 Stockton, and so on with all of our children. The daily logisitics will change with age and number of children, but I am in this mom thing for the long run, and that gives me a lot of joy. It's easy to pass a whole day just partaking of this motherly work without even really thinking about it because that's just life right now - and don't get me wrong, it's great.
Even though I don't often sit and marvel at what it means to be a mother, I do have moments where I realize how full my heart really is of intense, unlimited love for my precious baby girl. She really is precious, completely perfect in her every dear little way, and I get to be her MOM. I feel humbled and overjoyed when I think about this. I remember a time a few months ago when I had finally given up on rocking Natalie to sleep and instead I just sat her down in my lap on the couch. I was tired, frustrated, and felt inadequate. Austin was still at work for a few hours and I hadn't showered or had any personal time that day. Natalie just quietly laid her sweet little head on my chest and fell asleep listening to my heartbeat, and all of my pent-up negative feelings instantly evaporated because I was reminded of how beautiful it is to be a mom.
Of course it's exhausting, of course there is work involved, of course you have ups and downs and sleepless nights (and days) and of course you just have to throw your hands in the air sometimes and call your own mom, but it's moments where your innocent little baby just wants to be cozy with you that make it all worth it.
I love my sweet Natalie Jane, I love her fluffy cheeks and fuzzy hair and sparkling eyes and happy toes and how her lips purse when she's in a deep sleep and the way she reaches up for me after a nap and how she always looks around to find me and check in if someone else is holding her. She is so pure and lovely; it makes me understand why we need to "become as a child."
I guess I do get sentimental about motherhood afterall. It's easy to forget how absolutely amazing it is that we are entrusted to raise Heavenly Father's children as our own when those children throw tantrums or refuse to sleep or aren't being nice, but it is important to reflect every once in a while on what an incredible blessing it is to raise children. I didn't know where I was going with this post originally, but I feel so uplifted now after pondering why I love being a mother and how great a responsibility and gift children are.
On this Mother's Day, I'm grateful for my own mom who taught me, on purpose or not, everything I know about being a mother. In the days following Natalie's birth, I remember being so awed at how much I loved this little baby - I felt like it could explode out of me or crush my heart with its huge weight. The thought came to me then that this must be how my own mom felt about me when I was born, and I have never felt more loved or special than when I realized that.
So, Happy Mother's Day to all, whether your children are young or grown or yet to come. “Motherhood is not a hobby, it is a calling...It is not something to do if you can squeeze the time in. It is what God gave you time for.”
<...this ended up being quite the discourse after all...so much for not being "mushy gushy" : ) >