I look into this sweet, sleeping, peaceful face, and I’m so overcome with emotion and love. If one of the peaks of parenthood isn’t a sleeping baby on your chest, I don’t know what is. Holding our baby—our last baby—brings tears to my eyes and makes me want to cry. She stretches and squeaks, and I want to just hold her forever in this moment.
I remember and know her little face and weight so well at the moment. But looking back on photos and videos of our other children, it feels so far removed and distant. Can you relate? I know I held each one of them the same way, gazing at their peaceful closed eyes and open, little, kissable lips with sweet, milky breath.
But it feels so foggy now—it’s so much easier to just know each of them at the age they are right now.
Will I also forget these moments in the same way someday?
Will they also feel so far removed and long ago? Oh, it physically pains my heart to think I will not ever again have a baby this small and so reliant on me.
This was all I ever wanted. This is all I ever prayed for. To be a wife and a mother (a teacher too). And it’s happening right now. Am I so caught up sometimes in the hard moments that I don’t appreciate the wild blessing that this life is?
Trying to process being done with pregnancy, labor, the moments right after delivery, are all weighing so heavily on my heart. I’m endlessly and indescribably thankful for the privilege of being a mother.
These are the most bittersweet emotions I’ve ever felt.
And yet in these peaceful moments, I remember the inevitable chaos of each day and how inadequate I feel. Clingy toddlers, tantrums over seemingly nothing, endless messes, the mental list and exhaustion that goes so deep, wiping all the poopy butts, diaper genie is full again, what am I going to make for dinner, need to call this person and pay this bill, and, oh my gosh, my sheets haven’t been washed in two weeks, and I’ve gotta get those bathrooms cleaned.
If you are a parent, you, too, know this well. How is this really the path God has chosen for me?
The day Annie was born, an acquaintance of mine died from stage four colon cancer. She was in her late 20s, with a husband and two children in the same age range as mine. I hardly knew her but have been plagued with hurt and grief for her family.
Recently a good friend of mine, who also knew this woman well, brought us dinner and wrote me a card with the most meaningful words. I keep it on the fridge and read it often and feel the words deeply and so gratefully. She wrote this . . .
“Something I have been reminding myself of lately when I feel inadequate as a mom, is that _____ would have given her two front teeth to just be here with her boys. It doesn’t matter if the towels are in a pile and it’s pizza night again.
The greatest gift is to be here alive.
To hold your children close with a roof over your head is a gift we overlook. Always keep perspective. Just laugh—it’s only life.”
Can’t describe it much more perfectly than that, can I? With all its ups and downs and challenges and the bittersweet awareness of parenting that comes with all the changes, I am more thankful than anything for this life and the blessings that come with it.
I pray I can always keep this perspective (while still feeling the deep feelings).
Thank you Jesus for this gift of being a wife and mother.
Originally published on the author’s Facebook page.