This evening, like most of others, my 5 month old woke up to feed. Through the monitor I hear her pleading cries, looking for me – her protector, comforter and food source rolled into one soft shell.
Up I go, and begin to shush her as I reach the room. She quiets at my voice. She quiets more as I pick her up. She ravenously pulls her head from side to side, looking for comfort. I feed her, swaddle her up, and she instantly is still in my arms.
And as I hold her, her hair so soft on the side of my face, her breath so quiet and her body so warm, I melt into her.
I melt into motherhood.
In that moment, as tired as I am, I don’t want to let her go, so I just stand there a little longer. I stand there beside her crib, alone in the dark, at peace with who I have become.
It’s sort of funny, how we treat motherhood.
No, it’s not funny at all.
We treat motherhood like it’s something to accomplish, something to finish on our checklist.
… But I never want it to end.
I have spent so much time rushing, pulling tiny hands, tirelessly looking through sock drawers to find matches, creeping away from sleeping children, filling the void with tasks and people who choose not to matter. I have been fighting with motherhood, and it’s a losing battle.
But just now, I hear my daughter coo and sigh in her sleep, then wiggle and groan.
I melt again.
Slowly, my children are teaching me that giving into motherhood doesn’t mean that I have lost.
It just means that:
Instead of pulling, there may be holding.
Instead of creeping away, there may be climbing in.
Instead of filling a void, there may be an appreciation of every moment.
So tonight, when my daughter calls again for me in the night (as she invariably will), I will go to her and do what she asks. I won’t look at the time, or question why or wonder if I’m doing this right.
It’s not up to me, anyway.
This, is motherhood.