Motherhood sometimes feels like it’s trying to suffocate me – like it’s holding a pillow over my head and telling me softly, “Sshhh…this won’t take long. Stop resisting.”
The kids pull me into their rooms and whisper secrets, dreams, fears, longings for a change in trajectory, and I find myself feeling completely inept in my ability to guide them. So I listen and I nod, and I ask all the good questions. Then I leave their rooms with these sacred secrets tumbling around inside me all jumbled and swirly, and I wonder what it all means.
Before I can even begin to process it all, I find myself running after the toddler who’s got nail polish in her hand again, or she’s dumping out cereal boxes on the floor, or she’s pulling all the books off the bookshelf, or…
There’s so little time to process all the needs of the people living under this roof of mine.
I crawl into bed many nights a weary, tangled mass of nerves, and I set my alarm for early. I plan to pray into the dark before they rise, preparing myself for the onslaught of new issues and needs. But that alarm cuts through the darkness with an angry growl, and before I know it I’ve turned it off and drifted back to sleep.
So our days go, on and on. Always feeling just a little bit behind. Just a little bit incapable. Just a little bit unsure.
And I can’t really breathe.
The littlest wakes up cooing and jabbering in her bed. I walk into her room and sing “Good morning” as I pull open the shade, and her face splits wide into a grin. When I pick her up, she nestles her face into the crook of my shoulder, her hot breath tickling my neck. Her chubby arms squeeze me tight, and it feels like a deep breath.
After breakfast, the biggest leans over and gives me a kiss on the cheek. “Good morning,” I murmur.
“Your mom has a good morning.”
I laugh because he’s into ‘Your mom‘ jokes. The laughter is another deep breath.
When the second and third borns wake up and stumble sleepily into the kitchen, Annika lets out a squeal of delight and tackles them with a hug around the knees. The sisters tangle themselves up together in a hug, and I get all weepy at the sight.
And there’s another deep breath.
A few of those moments a day begin to add up, and all of the sudden I can breath again. Or at least I’ve enough life-sustaining breaths to get me through those times that feel weighty and too much.
[Tweet “Motherhood is a series of question marks broken by the occasional burst of exclamation points.”]
Today is another new day, bringing with it a slew of new challenges. My feet hit the tile this morning, and the crazy won’t stop until I crawl back into bed tonight.
So far we’ve had stubbed toes, spilled milk, a few tantrums, and math lessons that make no sense. But when I picked the fourth grader up from her music class, she jumped into the (smokin’ hot) minivan with eyes lit triumphant and held up her recorder proudly.
“I passed!” she beamed, and her smile broke through the mounting pressure of the day.
So I’ll take these deep breaths where I can get them, and in the moments when I feel like it’s all pressing down on me I’ll force myself to calm down, stop resisting, and remember this won’t take long.
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