Sunday, May 12, 2013

My, How Far We've Come

Five years ago I celebrated my first mother's day as a mom. And while Jeff and I had been thrilled about the pregnancy, I was more than a little ambivalent when our first came along. For almost 10 years of marriage, it had been just the two of us, Jeff and I, enjoying our blessed freedom, diving into our teaching careers, renovating houses and travelling and living abroad. I clung tightly to this lifestyle and didn't feel particularly comfortable with the various voices of motherhood around me.

Here was Kaiya. A round, pudgy, happy, and contented baby. But I didn't get all the voices telling me to "enjoy and cherish every moment," the same voices that assumed I now felt whole, happy, and complete. Because quite frankly there were more than a few moments I was happy to skip over, and for most of that first year I felt awkward, unsure of myself, and very much alone.

I didn't know how I could still be me while taking care of she, a very needy blob, kind of lacking in the skills of meaningful conversation.

But then, something magical happened. She started doing things like this (guaranteed to make you smile):

And I started to understand. The hours/days/months of the mundane, of loneliness and thankless work were for this:

Dang, those flowers smell good!

and this:

and this:

and this:

And I started to find my own version of motherhood... one that could include all the many facets of both me and she. And as we found our new rhythms, now as a family, both Jeff and I started to understand and feel the joy in the ride.

Fast forward a few years and we come to this, our new reality:

Let me tell you, nothing kills the ambivalence I once felt more than a miscarriage and then two and a half years of silence. Silence and questions. Last May, when I found out we had finally conceived again, I was both terrified and ready. Ready to embrace every last bit of babyhood, knowing now what a truly precious gift it is. 

Mind you, it's a heck of a lot easier to embrace all the bits when the baby sleeps eleven hours every night. ;)

That's right, baby girl. You just keep sleeping!

I am thankful today. For my daughters. For my mother and my sister. For all my mom friends. The people who talk me and walk me through the less-than-savory parts of motherhood. And for me... for the mom I've grown into and the motherhood I've found. This is the sweet space between the happiness and the hardness.

Big sister knows how to make her smile more than the rest of us.

The many faces of Isabelle


Erika said...

happy mother's day kathy.

James said...

So so so great. Thanks for the memories.

Suzanne Veenstra said...

Absolutely love it! The memories, the stories, and the new little life. How completely wonderful. Thanks for sharing and happy mother's day!