Hard Work Makes a Mother

“Hard work makes a mother. We like to think something magical happens at birth, and for some it does. But the real magic is keeping on, when all you want to do is run.”

From Call the Midwife – one of the most incredible shows I’ve ever watched.

I didn’t have that magic right away at birth.  It took a while.  But it’s grown more each day – complex and rich and peppered with a dread that I was unprepared for.  We cannot possibly be prepared for this.  This mothering has cast a spell on me and I’m captivated by it’s magic.

Last night after work I was sitting on the couch for a bit before dinner and ALL THEY DO IS CLIMB ON ME RIGHT NOW.  Why are they always climbing on me?  On their dad.  On Nikki?  Little monkeys.  As I let out one more “OUCH YOU ARE HURTING ME GO SIT ON THE OTHER COUCH” my mind already wanders to a day where they won’t be climbing on me.  When they won’t be demanding all my attention every single second of every day.

I felt badly because I wanted them to JUST STOP and I said as much after the 20th time of climbing and wrestling and crashing down on top of me was the last time.

“Hard work makes a mother. We like to think something magical happens at birth, and for some it does. But the real magic is keeping on, when all you want to do is run.”

The day will come when they won’t finish their apple slices downstairs and feel the need to come all the way up two flights to tell me they did so.  They won’t sweetly ask if they can sit with me while I do my make up and ask me what each thing is and why it’s that color and what I need a tiny brush for and what even are tampons?

The day will come when they won’t want to come get in our bed and snuggle and also punch us in horribly painful places as they get their footing to wander off only to return two seconds later because they missed us.

I feel badly for pushing them away because the second I do, I miss the weight of them. I miss their little hands and their arms around me.  Their breath in my face.  Their laughter as they actually get why something is funny and laugh WITH me instead of looking at me to figure out the why.

My greatest joy is watching how kind and appreciative of every little thing I have long taken for granted these kids are.  You are funny, smart, clever, kind, brave, and cute!  Our nightly affirmation.  And it’s all true.

My three kids.

These are the days.  The days we will look back on so fondly years from now.  I gotta say, it is pretty sweet right now.  Four year olds are magical.  I know I say that about every age, but I mean it when I say it!  My favorite thing in the world is hanging out with these two.  And as frustrated as I can get at times with, well, four year olds, I would pick their company over any other humans.

I was reminiscing with a woman who lived downstairs from us in our old apartment.  She had her baby and a while after I had mine and we went through it right on top of each other.  We’ve all since moved out, but we will always look back fondly on those days.  Those days I had two baby carriers and a two floor walk up and swore so much and never slept and it was absolute bliss.

When you go through the first few decades of your life certain that you won’t have children, then you try really hard to have children and cannot, you face infertility and all those feelings, then you go through IVF hell but OMG get pregnant and worry the entire pregnancy that something will go wrong – you are pregnant with twins and an older mama and and and – then they are here.  And it is so so so hard.  That first year is a killer.  The first two years are full of everything amazing and wonderful and so hard you want to run…..

But you don’t.

“Hard work makes a mother. We like to think something magical happens at birth, and for some it does. But the real magic is keeping on, when all you want to do is run.”

You don’t run.  You stay.  And if you can stay through all that, you figure you can stay through so much more, right?  They’ve only been with us for 4 years, with me for almost 5 years and yet, life isn’t in any way the same as it was before.  If you think you can go back to life as it was before, you are wrong.  Life may not change much, but you will.  I’m changed.  Hard work and unbearable love has changed me.

I had a conversation with a woman at work this morning who mentioned her husband didn’t think he was ready to have kids yet because they wouldn’t be able to have the lifestyle they have now. And they surely won’t.  But once they have those kids, my guess is they wouldn’t want to go back.  Sure, I pine for uncomplicated Sundays lazing on the couch binge watching anything and only getting up to get food, but these days there is no such thing as a lazy Sunday.

Would I trade getting up 18 times an hour to wipe bottoms or get snacks or unclench a kid from certain death on the railing? No.  Do I wish I didn’t have to yell, STOP THAT! 84 times a day? Yes, well, no.  Absolutely no, positively no.  But keep in mind it’s now Tuesday. Ask me on Sunday.

All the fears and concerns about having babies change when they get a bit older.  I was lucky enough to get pregnant and carry these babies.  Now we have so many many hurdles ahead and that is terrifying.  But to think of not having them is incomprehensible.

As always, I think of my friends who have lost their babies, either before birth or after, and my heart is always with them.  Always.  When I complain I think of them, but they tell me to keep complaining as long as I keep the gratitude along with it.  Carry the sorrow with the joy.  All the feelings.

Hard work makes a mother.  I was made to be their mother and I get better at it each day because they show me how.  And so we stay on.


These are the bubble days of parenting

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