Two years ago, on Mother's Day, Tim and I climbed into my two-door red Ford Focus, affectionately known as "Baby Red," to drive to my childhood home in Mansfield, Ohio. I was planning to surprise Mom for Mother's Day.
After we arrived, we all sat down on the patio with the rest of my family and ate burgers and corn on the cob. I brought my mom a wrapped box with a delicate, pink leopard print scarf inside and an envelope hiding underneath.
The letter I wrote her followed the outline of a simple game we've always played since I was a tot, called "I love you 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10." It was our thing. She would start, "I love you one," and I would follow, "I love you two." Whoever made it to ten was the big winner. When I was little, I didn't realize that would make me the winner every time. My letter outlined ten of my favorite memories with my mother. I typed the letter so that the tenth one was the only one on the back of the page so she wouldn't see it right away. The letter read...
10. Celebrating my first mother’s day with my mother, today May 11, 2014! Your eighth grandbaby is due January 1st, 2015. I’m six weeks pregnant and excited to start making I Love You 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10 memories with my own children! Happy Mother’s Day!
I'll never forget the look on my mom's face, how she gasped, eyes wide, her mouth dropped and her asking "ARE YOU SURE?" and me laughing, "Yes mom, I'm sure." I don't think I've ever given her a greater gift.
And I'm not sure I have ever received a greater gift than my son, Titus Jude. Until maybe next October when I get to meet Baby Bambino.
That first mother's day is so cemented into my mind.
The hilarious thing is I can't even remember last mother's day, when I actually had a child in my arms instead of my belly. I can't remember a. single. thing. Maybe because I had a four month old? Maybe because I wasn't sleeping? I just texted Tim to see if he remembered. Nope. I looked on my Facebook timeline to see if it provided clues. Not a post! I have a vague memory of receiving some flowers from my best friend, but that seems like something she would do any day other day too so maybe I'm confused.
Confused. That about sums up the first four months of motherhood post-womb anyway.
This year I'm determined to remember, not necessarily the day, but what motherhood in May of 2016 looked like.
Motherhood today is so different than a year ago. Then it was a lot of swaddling, sitting Indian-style to nurse, and trying not to count the hours I slept. Motherhood today is busy, because he is busy! My house deteriorates the second I clean it into kid toys, dog toys, toilet paper, tissues, dishes, anything that is at his level. And I'm not so nervous about that anymore. I get a lot more sleep. Titus can communicate, even if just through signs and gestures and the five or so words in his vocabulary. There are less diapers, but diaper changes with a toddler leave me breathless. Are we changing a diaper or are we sumo wrestling? Breastfeeding is over until October, and Titus can feed himself most foods we give him, which often extends generously to Champ via Titus' throwing services. Binkies and blankies are all of our best friends. Daniel Tiger songs are constantly on replay in my brain. We are starting to have to think about discipline. With the current life stage we are in, it looks like I will be doing most of that delightful business. This is less than ideal. Motherhood today is toddler time at the library, splashing in the bathtub, and hearing my annoying high pitched baby voice every time I take a video on my phone, something I will regrettably have to revisit the rest of my life if I want to remember these fuzzy early years.
Motherhood today is a lot of movement, getting down on the floor, throwing him in the air, dancing to Pandora, and chasing, ever chasing.
Motherhood today is discovery, curiosity, and seeing the world anew through his eyes.
Motherhood today is being shocked every day that I somehow have another baby even though I have a baby right in front of me. I'm having trouble reminding myself to keep taking my prenatals, sleep, hydrate, and exercise because there is one I'm taking care of inside me too. There have been a lot of calls to the on call doctors and ultrasounds, but then, I think I will remember those.
Motherhood today is wondering, "How do I have enough space in my heart to love two, when it is full to the brim of loving one?"
There are still a lot of feelings. My gal pals often toast each other's motherhood feels as the "highest highs" and the "lowest lows." My emotions have a way of following my toddlers', which is probably a very unstable way to live.
Mom guilt is an all too familiar friend. The words "I'm failing" flash through my head more times than I care to admit. I'm wondering if this will ever fully go away.
Motherhood, both now and then, is a lot of figuring out myself so I can take care of them.
Motherhood today is not asking "What kind of mom am I?" but asking, "What's the best decision for my child for today?"
Motherhood is praying for my kids, thanking God for them, and pleading with him not to take them away. Motherhood is being sanctified with the blessing and privilege of laying down my life for a precious, 23 pound, chipmunk-cheeked, on-the-go little boy and a lemon-sized, 14 week's gestation Bambino in the oven.
This is motherhood, today.
What is motherhood like for you today? What do you want to remember and what would you like to forget?
Happiest of Mother's Days this weekend to you brave mamas out there. Here's to embracing motherhood, today!