I couldn’t tell you much in the way of current events
today. I’m not really sure what’s
happening politically or economically or anything else. But I can tell you how Mickey and the
clubhouse gang cheered Donald up when he was feeling sad.
I didn’t take a long quiet bath with lavender salts or candles and music. But I did stick colorful foam letters to the side of the tub about a hundred times, all while trying to manage swimming wind-up water bugs, terry cloth finger puppets, and maybe shave my legs for the first time all week.
I didn’t read 3 chapters of Brene Brown’s Daring Greatly, all cozied up in my chair with a glass of mint tea. But I read The Jolly Barnyard at least a thousand times, complete with animal noises, funny faces and loads of giggles.
I didn’t apply my favorite shade of lipstick for a nice dinner out with my husband, filled with lovely conversation and 3 or 4 courses. But I did pull the top off my chapstick to perfect toddler-sized teeth marks as I sat to inhale dinner before bedtime stories ensued.
The reality is, I don’t get the luxury of quiet as before, long hours to fill however I please or even peaceful, uninterrupted sleep as before. The house rarely stays clean for long and laundry, well, it will likely never be entirely done.
But it is all absolutely, entirely, wonderfully okay. Do you know why?
Because there is nothing no matter how grand, nothing at all I will ever do or aspire to as generous and selfless as this. This thing, this journey, this daily dying to myself over and over and over again. Anything else would be about me. This is about her. This humble, selfless shadow we call Motherhood. This is love.
There isn’t anything bigger than love.
There are days where I stare at the toys in my tub and think remember when everything was neat and orderly? How nice and mellow and serene the world felt? And yes there are days I feel alone and unseen, more or less forgotten in this grand spinning world.
But one singular glance at blue eyes and dimples reminds me, to her I am everything. To her I am teacher, best friend, guardian and protector. I am illuminator, enlightener, nourisher and helper. I am linguist, maestro, the hand she holds and face she knows. From hot and cold to right and wrong, I am showing her, leading her, teaching her all there is to know in the world. To her, I am all that matters most.
Isn’t it fitting that motherhood begins with the sacrifice of your very own body? You give it over like an empty vessel and allow it to be filled day by day with a living, heart beating, kicking and blinking new life. Suddenly you are no longer your own. And the moment that child enters the world your wants, desires, wishes and preferences all become second.
This is not to say you should lose yourself. I am still very much me. My identity has not been consumed by who she is, who she will be. I still write, still read, still spend long hours connecting with my husband. I still dream and plan adventures and research all that interests me. I still plan towards a beautiful future, full of travel and projects and dreams big and small.
But for now, for right now, she comes first.
Sidewalk chalk and sandbox toys take precendence over long hours in my flowerbeds. Strawberry chunks and steamed carrots trump the recipe I pulled from Bon Appetite. Hours at the park or chasing ducks at the lake leaves little space for working on home projects or sacred silence in my studio, dreaming and creating.
But it matters. For her it matters more than I’m able to conceive. For her it is everything, her world.
As mothers it is something we should not, cannot, must not forget: We’ll never do anything as big as this.
We can climb corporate ladders, write books, build houses and business and empires. It will never trump love. The quiet kind. The silent, ever present humble kind. The mother kind.
Nothing will ever trump love.
Give it wholly, completely and generously. You’ll never look back someday and think I wish I’d loved my children less. I promise.