As a little girl, I dreamed of being a mother and imagined it to be full of never-ending love and joy and clean houses. And no matter how many times I was warned that motherhood was hard work, part of me expected this shiny dream to actually materialize when I brought my little ones home. In reality, I am finding that the vast majority of actual motherhood is filled with spit up and tantrums, of second-guessing and worrying, of dirty laundry and crumbs on the floor. It’s easy to get bogged down in the clutter, the worry, and the monotony of doing the same thing every day, over and over. And over.
But then there are these moments.
Like the moment last week when James ran to hug me after scoring a soccer goal and I reflected on how far this four year old boy has come from the tiny three month old baby who arrived in my arms so long ago and I was relieved to realize that I must have done something right to have helped him grow from a timid two year old who was too shy to say “hi” to most people to a confident four year old who will play a full soccer game without a second glance and only needs my arms to help him share in the joy of his very first goal.
And the moment when I saw James kiss Kasia gently on her forehead and talk to her about his day, just like I have done so many times, and I began to understand how dramatically my actions affect his, and I was at the same time delighted and terrified as I realized the profound ability my mothering has to shape my children’s lives.
And the moment when I looked into Kasia’s eyes and was startled to see my mom, who we lost five years ago, looking back at me and I finally felt connected to my mom again, if just for an instant, and I knew—really knew-- that my mother’s love shines through loss and into life and I take that love and I pour it into my own children.
Those are the moments that make time stand still. They are the moments that make motherhood what it is. And they are the moments that I will remember when I think back to these days. I just have to remember, in the midst of doing all the things that need to be done, to pause long enough to see the beauty of what’s in front of me.