Perhaps it’s time that makes me reflect back with such appreciation, or maybe it’s longing, for seemingly mundane moments that were actually magical. They were magical moments of motherhood that have transitioned from being my present to slipping into the days of past, far too quickly.
In my young mind, the visions and dreams of motherhood were completely different from the somber reality that I was living. The day in and day out messes, constant crying, never ending loads of laundry and my god, the exhaustion. A clean home never seemed attainable and if, if only I could have a few minutes of quiet to just gather my thoughts. Where was the beauty in all of this? Where was the joy I was so desperately seeking? Faintly, I can still hear the voice of motherly encouragement in my head reassuring me that it would get better, that it wasn’t always going to be like this….
With what seemed like the slow motion wave of a hand before my eyes, my babies were grown, no longer littles. Those never ending days and years stretching into motherhood eternity are now the precious glimpses I so desperately attempt to recall from the time-faded shallows that come with age.
These memories dance through my mind like photographs floating on waves in the ocean, almost transparent but still discernable, transporting me back:
“She’s perfect.” The first words immediately after birth. Wrinkled, pink toes and skin. Whispy, fine curls. That warm, sweet baby smell and the way they curl into a little tight ball on your chest. Whimpering noises. Long nights rocking, humming and gently patting a tiny bottom. Shushing away tears. Tiny fingers clenching mine.
“Say, ‘Momma’….” Chubby feet and toes. Spaghetti stained faces. Sticky hands reaching out. Thick, black lashes. Binkies. Fingers in my hair. Bruised knees from crawling. Worn, soft lovies. Giggles and gummy smiles. Those first steps. The first fall. Naps.
“Be good. I love you. I’ll be back.” Tiny backpack filled with crayons, paste and a favorite stuffed bunny. “Hold my hand, Momma.” Indiscernible art on the fridge. End of the school day hugs. Toys in the bathtub. Toys under the coffee table. Pieces of toys. “I made this for you, Momma.”
“I made lunch for you.”, a voice penetrates the wave of nostalgia. “Baby, I made lunch for you.” says my husband, holding out a plate… and just like that, as if a book slammed closed, I’m suddenly transported back to the here and now, my reality.
In my older mind, I regret not savoring these moments, allowing them to play out fully instead of cutting them short. The seasons have changed and now the house is now eerily quiet… there’s no longer giggles of mischief and wonder or cartoons playing at deafening levels. I remember when my youngest didn’t want to hold my hand any longer and the piercing pain I felt in my heart. And that designer couch? Oh, I own it now, all clean and pristine with no crumbs or marks, but no one sits on it. The house stays tidy now, everything in its place; there are no toys or backpacks on the floor. And time… well, I have abundance of it now.
I was in such a rush to get through the moment, through the day, hoping to find that deluded vision of motherhood on the other side where the next stage would hopefully be just a little easier. I had so much to do and so much to accomplish. In my busyness and ambition, I failed to stop and drink it in. If I could travel back to the events that created these precious memories, I wouldn’t worry so much about the floors and the toys and the messes. I would have played, laughed more, snuggled longer and hugged harder. The season is so heartbreakingly short. With the wave of that hand, the years were gone and my girls transformed from babies to women with lives and families of their own.
It’s in the everyday that we find the magical moments of motherhood. Hold tight to those moments; savor them, do not rush. Slow down. Embrace the struggle. They will be the moments you will yearn for when your babies… aren’t babies anymore.