A story by Stephanie Zibell
I haven't set an alarm for years. I wake to the pitter patter of a heavy-heeled toddler sleepily trudging down the hall towards my room. Every morning, my sleepy eyes meet his sleepy eyes, his stature the perfect height to rest his chin on my pillow as he whispers loudly onto my face, "Mama, eat? Mama, me eat now, pease?"
His six-year-old sister is still sleeping, but three years ago she would have given him a run for his money for the "wakes up before the sun" trophy. She too, with her footie jammies and curly hair riddled with nighttime knots, loved to climb into our bed long before she knew she should and sneak in some cuddles before the day began.
My gosh, I love being a mom.
On my best days, it is endless giggles and dance parties and reading books and playing imagination while eating raw food that spans the rainbow. On my hardest days, it is endless laundry and enforcing consequences that don't seem to be working and IF I HAVE TO TELL YOU ONE MORE TIME TO GET YOUR SHOES ON and forgetting to wear deodorant and driving through Taco Bell to eat a burrito before I go home to cook dinner.
Becoming a mother was not an easy road for me. Having lost 5 babies and spent 6 long years on an adoption journey, I spent my first four Mother's Days as a silent mom, one who spent the day grieving instead of celebrating. So painful, so quiet, so forgotten, so lonely.
And now, listening to the whir of a sound machine in my son's room as he naps and looking at my daughter's backpack and sticker book strewn across the floor, I am filled with gratitude as I think about the gift of celebrating another Mother's Day with my kids in my arms.
Motherhood is not what I expected. It is equal parts more than I expected and equal parts less than I expected. It is the thing that fills my heart and soul and mind, and yet it is not the thing that makes me whole. It is the most fulfilling job and yet it is the job that leaves me wondering if anyone even notices or cares about what I am doing. It is realizing that although my kids mean more to me than anything, that my kids need to see that I view myself as equally important and valuable. It is dancing between practicing self-care and feeling selfish for caring about myself. It is walking the line of protecting my kids from making the same mistakes I did and allowing failure to guide and teach them as well as failure continues to guide and teach me.
There are women this week, the silent mamas, who are aching. Aching to hold, to touch, to feel, to experience motherhood. And to you, I say, hold tight, my sweet friend. Hold tight to hope. If nothing else feels tangible and attainable this week, hope will always find its way back into your heart.
And for the rest of the mothers, the not so silent mothers, may we allow ourselves the space to be celebrated. Remind ourselves of the joy that comes from the simplicity of a moment. Find gratitude in the grind. Choose to let our breath out instead of prepare a deep breath for the next wave. Remember that we are valuable not for what we do, but simply for who we are.
Happy Mother's Day, to my beautiful mothers everywhere. May you feel loved and cherished and celebrated and honored.
Celebrate Mom at Willow Creek this weekend, May 12/13! Learn more here.