I’m a mother, but I was first a daughter, and so I need to start from there. I was raised in the 70s by a mom who believed in kids playing outside and wearing tartan in photographs. My mother taught me about grace, kindness, humility and integrity. Looking back, I can say that there has never been a time she was not there for me; answering the phone no matter the hour, mint chocolate birthday cakes and making me the priority in her life.
I know it is cliche to say that I never really appreciated my mother until I was one myself, but it is true. When I held my tiny daughter in my arms at night, while she cried and would not be comforted, I realized that my mother had also done this for me. She had sacrificed sleep and a bit of sanity to soothe me and help me find peace in her arms.
Yes, sacrifice is a part of motherhood. There are times, many times, when filling in a school trip form or helping brush the teeth of an unwilling toddler may mean that your hair gets ‘styled’ in a pony tail for the 355th time this year. Swimming lessons or hip hop dance classes replace lazy Saturday morning brunches. But, is it all a loss? Is motherhood a kind of erasure? No, because somewhere between the moment you find out you’re pregnant and the first time you hold your little one in your arms, your heart breaks and is only mended by your child’s smile. Your lives, hopes and dreams forever enmeshed with theirs.
I’m a mom to four children. My relationship with each one of them is so unique and powerful that sometimes it takes my breath away. Sometimes I have gushes of love for them that nearly overwhelm me.
I became a birth mom after having lost five babies to miscarriage, and then went on to adopt three children. Being a mom has changed me and I have known joy, and pain, like never before. Though those moments are memorable and almost spiritual, the everyday miracle of motherhood, is actually in the details.
It is in teaching a little one to write, wiping up yet another spill, or holding a crying teenager close when his heart is broken. It is in all of those moments, strung together, that both childhood and motherhood are created and fulfilled. I hold on to all of it, honouring each day’s work and each day’s joy, because I understand it is only for a season. In just four short years my oldest baby will become an adult, and another eight years later, my youngest will. It passes by so slowly and so quickly.
So, I will pack their lunches, cry at the children’s spring concerts and not worry too much if I didn’t have time to put mascara on (it would be running anyway). There will be more time for hot yoga or cycling holidays in Italy in the future, so for now, I’ll just hold all of my children a little closer and enjoy every moment.