A few months ago I was asked what motherhood means to me. I needed to respond rather quickly–in writing. A straightforward question, but to be honest, not one I’d pondered specifically on my own. I did my best to describe my early experiences as a new mother, some of the challenges I faced and how those challenges shaped me. This is a small part of what I wrote.
I believe the opportunity to give life to, care for and love each of my children has helped me to be compassionate to the special needs of others and appreciate of the simple joys
I don’t think I was completely satisfied with my answer. I’ve since done more thinking, more observing. I’ve looked at my mothering for more meaning. Here is my short list.
What motherhood means to me
It means watching children sleep, feeling time stand still—or wishing it would.
Having a reason to not be so self-absorbed.
Waking up early to read or exercise, think or breathe in the pure, quiet stillness.
It means interruptions.
It means giggles and whispered I love yous.
Cooking for special diets, picky eaters, and ravenous teen-age appetites in the same meal.
Some nights, falling asleep before my children.
Moving mountains of laundry and dishes.
Moving mountains of fear that I’m doing any of this right.
It means visits to doctors and dentists and specialists and equal time on the phone with the insurance company. And not complaining, because at least we have an insurance company.
It means finding within me more patience and discipline than I ever had for myself.
It means not knowing what’s ahead of me, but taking the next step.
It means going further, working harder, waiting longer than I did for any of my own self interests.
It means finding the ice cream gone before I can have any.
It means finding out how it feels to be needed, desperately.
It means finding out how it feels to not be needed as much because I did my job properly.
It means knowing all about these small people I’ve cared for since birth and yet still have so much to learn.
It means wondering if they will be okay without me one day.
It means praying with more faith than I knew possible.
It means witnessing miracles.
Motherhood is everything superficial isn’t.
It means a whole-body, a whole-soul kind of love.