Mothering and Learning.

Monday, October 17, 2011

I look at Clara and cannot believe that I made her. That such a beautiful creature came out of me. I'm counting my blessings continuously.

Last night, she woke up at two in the morning, fussy because she has a new tooth coming in. She didn't want to eat, didn't want to play. So, we laid in bed together and watched TV. I was exhausted, and all I wanted was to fall asleep. But I couldn't. Not until Clara could. I reminded myself that everything I do, it's all for her. The sleepless nights, the worry, the spit up. That's motherhood.

Clara gripped my hand with both of hers and stared at me, and I realized that she was also waiting for me to sleep. For me to relax. I am hers, just as much as she is mine.

She kicked my belly (as she does often when sleeping in my bed... she probably likes the way it jiggles) and I looked down. My stretch marks and extra fat fluff looked extra gross in the light of the TV in an otherwise dark room. And for the first time since becoming pregnant, I accepted it. I accepted the stretch marks and a body I didn't recognize because I am hers. I am part of her. I belong to her. And I belong to her completely.

And exactly that, the giving of myself to my child, that is what being a Mama is all about.

If I described my experience with motherhood to a new or expecting mom, I would say that you're not your own person anymore. When you shop, you shop for your child. You make sure that your child is bathed, and fed exactly on time, has had enough sleep, is warm and comfortable, is learning and so on. I can't say that I'm usually any of those things, much less all of them.

But motherhood isn't any of that. Not really. It's the little things. Like the way Clara smiles when I come and "rescue" her from her crib when she wakes up. How she looks so proud of herself when she stands by herself and plays without any help. Or when she figures out how to turn the page of a book and looks at me in disbelief.

Clara doesn't care if I have stretch marks, or didn't put on make-up. She cares that I read her a book before bed, and sing to her, and play with her, and make silly faces at her, and make her laugh, and hold her when she cries. That is what being a Mama is about.

Clara and I play on the floor together, and I bring my face to hers. I say, "boo", and she erupts in a fit of giggles. I know what makes her laugh. That is motherhood.

She hits herself in the head with a toy and cries. I pick her up and sing her favorite song until she falls silent and rests her head on my shoulder.
That is motherhood.

She used to roll from her back to her tummy and get stuck. She would do it in her crib before she fell asleep and when she woke up. She would do it on the floor while playing. And she would cry because she didn't know how to roll back. I spent a couple of weeks teaching her how to roll back the other way. The day she did it on her own, when I was 10 feet away folding laundry, she looked around for me, and smiled when I told her how proud I was and how she did such a good job.
That is motherhood.

I stress too much over things I can't control, stupid things, and housework. My room might be a mess, there may be a full garage of goodwill stuff to go through and the sink is full of dishes, but it doesn't matter. Time is already moving so fast. Five years from now, I'm not going to remember the dishes, or laundry, or cleaning that didn't get finished. I'm going to remember the little things.

I didn't used to be like that. And I'm still working on it.

It's not about the many (many) mistakes I've made, but rather the things I've done right. I'm getting over myself; moving past my short comings and realizing that there's something better unfolding in front of me. I'm learning to live in the moment, and let go of everything else.

It has nothing to do with what I haven't done, or what I've failed to do, and everything to do with the person and the mother I'm becoming.

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kdehart5151 said...

Following you from :)

Laura Lee said...

Thanks, Kelsey! I saw your blog re-design on hottlt. Jordan did a fantastic job!

Kelly-Marie said...

beautifully written !

reading this I think it's a mummy thing to cry to it ;)

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