On the day your child was born, so too were you. You were always a woman, but on this day, you became a different version of yourself. You became a place of comfort, a keeper of snuggles and bedtime stories, a companion to the new little life that wriggled in your arms. On this day, your heart grew two sizes and you were overwhelmed with love for this life you had created.
On the day you became a mama, the months of waiting and planning for your baby’s arrival culminated in to the moment you placed your new bundle in to their crib for the first time, the fresh scent of their newborn hair filling your nostrils and engulfing your lungs with a joy so palpable, you were sure your chest would burst. You felt the corners of your mouth turn in to a smile so wide you felt your muscles ache, as you looked at your husband and fell in love with him all over again. You sighed with exhaustion, and wondered if you could ever be happier than you were in that very moment.
Your baby grew, as if in the blink of an eye, and was suddenly a toddler, a whirlwind of energy and emotion. You, mama, let your child patiently explore, waiting in the wings as your child requested independence, yet hovered, waiting to shield your child from any potential harm that may have inflicted pain. You clapped your hands in joy as your child reached each new milestone, mastering first the brushing of their teeth, the combing of their hair, their victory over potty training. Mama, your heart soared and crumbled as your child conquered toddler-hood, happy in the knowledge that you were raising a tiny human who could now walk on their own and feed themselves, yet sad, as they were moving toward the next stage of childhood with you always one step behind.
Mama, your child continued to grow, and soon you were preparing your little one for their first day of school, packages of finely sharpened colored pencils and sticks of purple glue taking residence in their character backpacks. You filled their lunchboxes with their favorite snacks and classroom approved juice drinks, debating as you drove your child to their first day of school without you who would have the bigger meltdown. When you arrived at the drop off point, and weren’t allowed any further, you knelt down, your knee brushing the cool concrete of the sidewalk, and squeezed your child in a tight embrace, fighting with every ounce of yourself to let your child go, as they attempted to free themselves from your embrace. You planted a kiss on their perfectly combed hair, said, “I love you,” and waved as a piece of your heart walked away, in to a building full of other tiny bodies ready to learn.
Mama, your child no longer cries when you drop them off for school. They are ready to greet their friends, ready for recess on the playground and the special activities that fill their days. They are growing more independent every day, and yet, the moment they step off of the bus or climb in to the car, ready to shower you with morsels of their day, your heart and your smile can’t help but to expand, at how much they are willing to share with you.
Mama, before you know it, your little one, the baby you held so many days ago, will be on to the next stage of their lives, tackling middle school and the demands that becoming a teenager entails. They may withdraw from you, and the young child ready to share their day may no longer seek you out as their first option to talk to.
But dear mama, take heart. As you ride the roller-coaster of these years, certain at times that your child may hate you, as you question yourself and your role as a mother, your child will still know that you love them. Though they may not choose to acknowledge you and your presence, in the moments they are alone, without you, your child will know that your love for them surrounds them, even when you do not.
Mama, these times are tough and are also truly rewarding. Your emotions will never be as intense as they are when you are a mother. You will feel days of joy and days of pure frustration. Your soul, at times, will be weary, and your body will be tested, as you carry that growing body, first within you, and then on your lap, your hip and in your heart. You may ride the roller-coaster of parenthood multiple times, if like myself, you have more than one child, and you may question your sanity on the days when your children bicker endlessly.
Your child will continue to grow mama, and the middle school teenager will became a high school student, and then a college graduate. Before you can blink, mama, your son or daughter may be a parent of their own. You will remain with them, a constant in the ever changing seas of their lives, the lighthouse guiding them home.
Mama, this life is a crazy one, but rest assured dear friend. You are a wonderful woman, a wonderful mama, and you are doing just fine.