When I first became a mother eleven years ago, I was completely overcome with emotion. I was terrified, and elated. Wrought with worry and inundated with joy. I savored every moment. Every smile, coo, and milestone was a treasure to be cherished. Motherhood was a bittersweet rollercoaster ride that I clung to for dear life. I, like most new parents questioned everything. Everything I thought I knew was suddenly uncertain. With this precious life dependant upon me for survival, I began to see and think very differently.
I was no longer the cynical, angry, self deprecating person I once was. I could no longer indulge in that sort of selfish thought pattern. I had no right to masochism. I was her mother. Her provider, nurturer, playmate, teacher, comforter. I was important. Essential. I could no longer chastise and despise myself. I could no more (as had long been my coping mechanism) be of the mind that, “It just doesn’t matter.” Stuff mattered now. I mattered now.
I saw in her all the beauty and tragedy of the universe. This little being embodied the greatest greatness and the deepest sorrow. The abstract idea of ever losing her brought an insufferable grief; strong, and tangible enough to provoke tears of sorrow for every person on the planet who’d ever had the privilege to love a child. To look at her at times, literally broke my heart. She epitomized innocence.
I look at my two younger daughters, growing up so quickly. No matter how much I try to capture every moment, they inevitably slip like sand through the proverbial hourglass. Sometimes I think if I could just rewind… I’d love to see, feel, live that moment again. My youngest child is soon to turn three. Her entire infanthood is now behind us. She is potty-trained and will be moving out of her crib and into her big girl bed by month’s end. This is the child who insisted that I hold her for the first two years of her life. And I did. And at times it was tediously difficult. But now… (*sigh*) Now, I must admit that there is a part of me who longs to go back and hold her (hold them all) for another two (or ten) years. To cherish even more, the closeness and necessity that only a mother can know.
My children are changing and growing up so very fast; right before my eyes. This is a reminder to myself as well as to you, that they are ours for such a short time really. In the grand scheme of life childhood is brief. Let us remember to cherish and participate in our children’s youth. For we are the ones who’ll weep for these missed moments. They teach us of the infinite beauty of life.