Sunday, May 14, 2017

Motherhood is never feeling just one thing

"You're supposed to be sleeping in."

My day began with an admonishment as I tip-toed past my husband (sleeping on the couch with the baby monitor so I wouldn't be woken early) to grab my laptop.

"I know," I said, because it was easier then again trying to explain why I love the early morning hours to the consummate night owl that I married. The man who generally communicates via unintelligible grunts because his first cup of coffee will never truly understand  how much I delight in the rare calm I find in the stillness before everyone wakes up.

It's Mother's Day, and my one promise to myself was to make some time to write. This was a necessary to-do, as I've been lately feeling the haze off too many thoughts unwritten crowding my mind. So here I sit, pre-dawn, on the day when I am supposed to be lounging in bed, happily typing away.

And yet, I keep glancing at the time and feel an increasing anxiousness for my son to wake up. Less than twelve hours ago, I was willing the time to move faster and hasten him to bed so I could just sit for a while. I never truly understood how glorious sitting still can be until my son learned to walk.

But now, I am missing him. I can't wait to say good morning, to see him proudly yell "hi" while he gives me his deliberate, chubby-handed wave. I love the mornings, when he is still groggy, because he wants to be held and to rest with his head on my shoulder. I know every day that the last moments of my stillness will evaporate when he declares "done," hands me his cup, and races off to whatever the most interesting thing is that moment in toddler world. I love to watch him play, but always feel a moment of sadness when he climbs down from my lap.

I thought of this last week when a coworker told me her son was about to get his driver's license. She was excited to give up her chauffeur's hat, but also nervous at the prospect of all the worry his knew mobility would bring her.

"Isn't that just motherhood?" I asked, holding my hands up to mirror a scale. "It seems that it is never feeling just one thing."

She nodded with a smile, and we chatted more, having already covered the simple truth that unites moms, no matter the age of their kids.

Motherhood is never feeling just one thing.

Last year, I remember being elated that my baby was no longer a newborn and I was suddenly able to sleep again. At the same time, I missed having my kid at arm's reach all night after moving him to the crib to allow said sleeping.

Now, I am in awe of all the new things he seems to learn every single day. I love his newfound independence, of how much easier it is get some time to myself, but wish I got more than those first few minutes every day when all he wants is to sit on my lap and rest his head on my shoulder.

Motherhood is feeling so happy that, more and more, he can tell me what he wants instead of crying for it but wishing he didn't suddenly delight in offering a hard "no" when asked to give me kisses or hugs.

Motherhood was being embarrassed by his jealousy yesterday when we had a friend's son over for a few hours, but being excited by his first utterance of a two word phrase (which was "Mommy MINE").

Motherhood is greedily typing away and being so thankful for the few minutes I got to write this morning, but missing my kid and hoping he wakes up soon. Motherhood is knowing that, within an hour, I will be wishing he would just sit down but feeling guilty over not having all the energy I would need to keep up with him.

It's Mother's Day, which likely kicked the haze of the unspoken into high gear for me today. Like so many things about motherhood, I will never feel one thing about today.

Already, this year's Mother's Day brought me an awesome hand and foot painting from day care. Already I got to go to Mother's Day tea and giggle inwardly as I spent the entire time trying to stop my little klepto from stealing the other kids' cookies. Later, we're heading out for brunch, my favorite meal, and then I am pretty much guaranteed a nap. I have a sneaking suspicion that the earrings I've been eyeing for months are probably somewhere in this house (at least I hope that was the result of me sending by husband a link for them along with the words "Mother's Day is coming"). And I got to write. Oh, man did I need this!

At the same time, Mother's Day will also never stop being a little sad. I still mourn my mother's loss every single day. I miss her in every moment that my kiddo does something amazing or awful and I feel, like an itch in my head, my inability to share it with her.

I find myself saying things to him and hearing her voice echo through. Some I fight ("it's wakey-uppy time!" Shudder). Others, I embrace ("tell me all about what's wrong"). I feel like she would be proud of me and the job I am doing, even on those frequent days when I am just sure I am getting it all wrong. I take joy in that assumed pride even when it makes me miss her so damn much.

He's stirring now. I hear a tiny voice echoing down the hall as he talks to his stuffed animals. I am both relieved and a bit panicked- I am sure I had more to say. But I will go get him ready, get frustrated when he fights a diaper while finding his futile protest adorable.

I will go celebrate my day and keep feeling two things all together today, and for the rest of my life.

Happy Mother's Day to all the awesome Moms out there. And for those of you who are Motherless today, you're in my thoughts as well.

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