*What motherhood means to Sarah, mother to 6-month-old Scarlett (aka Scout)*
Motherhood is falling in love. Some days, when I’m too tired to be very interesting, my daughter and I lie in bed together and just stare at each other. I kiss her forehead and her cheeks; she pulls my hair and tries to eat my nose. I sing her songs; she screeches in my face and punches me. Though it may sound like a one-sided romance, I know that when she rakes her teeny nails across my face, she is really expressing her total and unwavering devotion to me. (And maybe she is reminding me that it’s time to find the nail clippers.) Ah, the passion of a new relationship. Will it be like this forever? No chance.
Right now, our relationship is uncomplicated. Every morning when I lift her from her crib, she looks at me like she can’t believe her luck that it’s ME again. Sometimes she sees me and just laughs (this might be because I haven’t brushed my hair in a few days), and other times when I’m holding her to my chest, I look down to see that she is gazing up at me quietly.
It doesn’t matter that I’m tired, that my hair looks like this, that when I do make it to a yoga class I spend the whole time thinking of all the other things I should be doing. My baby needs me, and my reward for meeting her needs is the brilliance of a smile that turns her eyes into little rainbows, and the sweetness of her contagious giggle. Sometimes it’s also the sweetness of pureed peas being flung at my pants.
But someday she’ll realize that I am always there, and the excitement created by my very existence will fade. We will enter a period of familiarity, that natural progression of even the fiercest love. She will reject me, fight with me, tell me everything I’m doing to annoy her and ruin her life. She will do these things because she is secure in my love for her. But I’m certain that won’t make it any easier to take.
And I suppose that this is motherhood, too. The fact of loving someone so intensely, and then having her grow up and away from you while you can only watch. Already she is changing so much, becoming more independent, putting tiny touches on her burgeoning personality. The things she couldn’t do yesterday—she can do them today. And she’ll just keep becoming herself, a person who I don’t even entirely know yet, a person who will most definitely be taller than me.
So today, in this moment, what I feel most about being her mother is grateful. So incredibly grateful for this time we have to just stare, to sing, to squeeze the soft part of a chubby arm (I really should get to yoga more often.) Our love may grow and change, along with my daughter, but it will definitely last. I do hope there will eventually be less punching.
*Sarah* *October 3, 2010* *500 words*