My First Mother's Day: Here's What I've Learned
I thought I’d sit down and do a little reflecting on motherhood and my experience so far, in honor of my first Mother’s Day. I’m finding it difficult for several reasons, the least of which being that I have exactly 20 minutes to do so while Matty graciously takes that child whom I love so much back to his room to play. How do you fit an entire universe into words?
Avery is 9 months old—still a baby, by all means. Everything is “dada” and occasionally (depending on how upset he is), I’m “mama.” He’s completely enamored with the sound that plastic cups make when you knock them together and he understands the words, “ball,” “dog,” “book,” “all done,” “water,” and “monkey.” That’s what we know, at least. I’m sure there’s a lot more he understands that he isn’t telling us. He also took his first steps at 8 months and now he regularly parades around the house carrying sunscreen, or a remote, or (if we aren’t quick enough) a phone. He loves to splash and the beach is his ideal playground. These are the facts.
And, I’m technically a 9-month-old mother, so I’m learning a lot, too. I find myself imagining worst case scenarios and how I would handle them a lot more often than I used to. There’s a new brand of anxiety that comes with motherhood that I didn’t expect, and I guess that’s why mothers are often called fierce protectors. I’ve already learned so much and I expect I’m writing those things out mostly as keepsakes for my future self to enjoy. Will I laugh at how naive I was? Will I cry remembering those first joys of motherhood? Probably both. But I never ever want to forget these days. So, here we go!
I’ve learned to listen to embrace time.
“It goes by so fast,” is very true. But WOW what a stress inducer. The cure is to “enjoy every moment,” right? These are the types of conversations I find myself in at the grocery store and it’s as if I can feel the time slip through my hands like sand. I do what I can. I try to memorize Avery’s face when he’s nursing. I put every smile in my pocket. I let him sleep in my arms just a little bit longer. But it’s a futile task, I know. So, I’m learning to welcome time as a friend. It’s passing brought me Matty, it brought me Avery. It is no enemy.
I’ve learned that a promise is a promise.
On Mother's Day last year, I shared about how I knew I’d have a son one day. In the midst of us trying to get pregnant and all the anxiety that fought to control us with every negative test, we reminded ourselves that God’s word never returns void. We strengthened our faith. My sister wrote us a letter and said she believed we’d get pregnant and that it would come in a way that glorified God the most. It was Thanksgiving morning when we finally got our positive test! Now, this little boy is a walking portrayal of God’s faithfulness. Our little promise.
I've learned what they mean by "A Mother's Love."
Seeing your baby smile at you when he wakes up, when you walk into a room, when you do something silly...can somehow break and expand your heart simultaneously. Same thing when he falls asleep on you. Or when he learns absolutely anything new.
I’ve learned that there is grace as a parent when you surrender.
So often I have faced the day with a “How will I do this?” mentality but things have shifted lately. I wake up ready to succeed, ready to kill it, frankly—as a wife, mom, employee, and all the other roles that I get to embody. I am no victim and there is so much beauty in life when you surrender. Funnily enough, never have I had more control over my life than in surrender. That’s because grace allows me to see things differently: failure is no longer failure. An interruption is, instead, an opportunity. This takes practice, but I’m so happy to do the work.
Oh, how I could go on! I am so thankful to be a mother and I do not take lightly these moments that may be someone else’s miracle. I pray for women who long to be mothers and men who long to be fathers. This joy that awaits you is unparalleled.
And, for those of you wondering: no, I did not finish this in 20 minutes. In the time I’ve written this I’ve simultaneously nursed Avery, had another cup of coffee, put him down for a nap, and stared at his sleeping face in my arms just a little while longer. (I’m a pro at one-hand typing these days.) All in a day’s work.
One more thing: I can’t do a Mother’s Day post without mentioning my own incredible mama! Thank you, Mom, for everything you’ve done for me. Now that I’m a mother, I have the honor of understanding a whole new side of you. I imagine your first days as a mother. I get why you had more kids after me (the first one is so great, PERFECT, even...you just want to do it again, right?!). You are still mothering all 3 of us, as we embark on that same journey. We always have much to learn from you and much to be in awe of. I think I can speak for Lauren and Rachel when I say thank you for teaching us from the very start how to be compassionate, patient, fun, and gentle mothers. You are the goal. (Send me a text when you stop crying.)
Wishing a Happy Mother’s Day to all the moms reading! Pedicures and clean kitchens all around!