For years I was in the trenches of motherhood.
My firstborn needed to feel my touch. If he didn’t, he was quick to let me know by inconsolably crying. We were attached for month after month after month. Nursing. Babywearing. Co-sleeping.
He needed me to be in view of him at all times, or he fell apart. Even my very quick showers were taken with him crying in a bouncy seat in the bathroom with me. We were up bouncing, rocking, and singing five times a night. It was hard not to wish the days would get easier. Lack of sleep has a way of wearing down mental and emotional health. This causes other relationships to suffer as well.
We manage the best we can through these trenches. We survive as well as possible during these tough days.
My second baby came along and though she was easier than the first, I was still doing my best to manage two babies. My first was quite the strong-willed toddler and my second was a newborn who required a normal newborn amount of care. I was nursing, pumping, and changing diapers on two kids, all the while trying to keep the house from being completely destroyed. I often carried guilt that my newborn daughter wasn’t getting my undivided attention as my first did.
By the time my third came along, I knew the drill. This passes quickly. Soak it up. No matter how much of a struggle the days and long nights are, it won’t last. So, I sat with him, I rocked him, I nursed him, I played with him. Every chance I got, I chose to fully be in the moment. Suddenly, he was a year and a half old. I looked at him and said, “How did this happen? I enjoyed every moment, and they still flew by.”
I felt cheated somehow.
I believed if I was aware of how quickly it passed that I could somehow make it slow down. And yet there I was, again watching my baby grow up.
From the other side of the trenches, I can tell you, yes, the moments pass quickly. Yes, soak them up to the best of your ability. But no matter how much we do, it still passes. How bittersweet this thing called motherhood is!
As a mom, I find myself in the crux of wanting them to be strong, independent, their own person, and wanting them to be my babies forever. And yet, I can whisper this truth to you: it only gets better and better.
You will miss these days, but you will love the days that are coming. To see them grow and know you had something to do with that is so rewarding. To hear your son tell you, “Mom, racism makes no sense. How can you hate someone because of their skin color?” To see your daughter do the uncool thing and befriend a person who was just made fun of. To see your youngest nurture a baby and know deep down he will make an amazing father one day.
Each of these little ones grows into who they are because of me. Because of you.
Mama, the moments grow sweeter, the love deeper, the relationship stronger as the years pass by.
We will always miss rocking them in our arms, softly caressing their chubby cheeks, and hearing them sweetly sigh as they drift off to sleep. But we can be incredibly proud of the people they are becoming and rest dearly in the truth that we helped them become it.