I think you know that I am smitten with motherhood. It's not something I seek to underplay or overplay for the sake of this blog. And though I wear many hats in the course of one day (writer, blogger, business owner, tea mixer, cook, maid, driver, punching bag, etc), motherhood is more than a hat because I cannot take it off. My children occupy a prime piece of real estate in my heart and my mind, and even temporarily my body.
They started out here, first inside of me and then attached to my breast and my lap and my side, so needy for me. For mommy. And though this is exhausting, I love it. I love my babies and I love being loved by my babies.
(Which is something I must remember when I feel swarmed with children and I hear myself wishing or even asking for space.)
When I was five years old I used to play house with my best friend and her little sister. My best friend was the teacher and I was the mommy and her little sister was my daughter. I clearly remember instructing this two year-old to hug me as I talked to the teacher. She was supposed to be so glad to see me after school.
Motherhood is more than a hat, more than a job, more than a career, motherhood is a life's work.
And yes, it is the hardest work out there, a lifestyle of selflessness and generosity and boundless patience.
I wonder if I'll ever get the hang of it.
Four years and 3 months into this thing and I've taken one trip sans children. It lasted exactly 48 hours including travel and though heavy with anxiety about being an airplane ride away from Giovanna, it was worth it for the time spent with James and a few special loved ones in the California sunshine. I love to travel, I love my husband, and like a migratory bird I love flying south in the winter.
But I didn't try for it again. It was fun, but a tad excruciating. As much as I want to maintain my sense of self I have a hard time leaving my children voluntarily, and I find it nearly impossible to leave my little baby. Even for a yoga class or a hair cut. Yes, I feel a bit trapped by my own anxieties and expectations. Yes, they could survive without me. But I want to be there, I want to be here. For only a short time, I hung the moon. My body delivers unparalleled comfort and nourishment and home. Sometimes I can even heal with a hug.
And I guess I don't want to miss a moment. Being a mommy to a baby is like nothing else. And though my love for my children is both infinite and always expanding, not unlike the universe, it is babyhood that I feel most adept at handling.
(Except for when my babies scream in their car seats, but that's another post.)
It is babyhood that makes me feel like I was made for this. When I look into Skyla's big black eyes and she looks back at me, I can hardly move. Everything else falls away. There's a person behind those eyes. She's here and she's beautiful and she smells like heaven. I wrote this on Instagram last week, accompanied by the picture below:
When my tiny baby smiles at me like this, the joy becomes so thick it clouds my vision, and reality seems more like a dream. Hazy and magical.
Literally. I meant literally my vision clouds over. This might sound dramatic but I'm going to trust that you know what I mean: it's like entering another dimension, a golden world, where the density of this realm fades away and everything becomes as light and joyful as babies.
Oh, babies. Their perfect innocence and helplessness let's them do something else perfectly: love. And all you have to do to be loved by a baby is love them first.
People are so kind, they always want to know how I'm doing.
Yes, I am tired. I am carrying around more flesh than I am used to. I can't seem to find the time or energy to exercise. I crave dark chocolate like never before. I am a slave to her little rooting mouth. I am struggling with Giovanna who feels displaced. I am responsible for another person for 18 years. I am responsible for another person for the rest of my earthly life.
And I am blissful and I am happy and I am grateful and I am happy.
Because there's nothing I ever loved more.
Than being mommy to a baby.