I don’t even know where to begin. I guess I’ll start with when I first met Aimee. We are in an awesome blogging group together and I remember scrolling through and seeing her blog pop up in a thread. As per the usual, I started stalking her site and surfing through her posts and I came across one that I loved, titled “Chasing Your Joy.” Have you ever had that moment when you read something and feel like you could have written it yourself? I have those moments often with Aimee’s writing. Although, I find more often than not that I admire her writing and I am inspired to be a better writer myself. So that’s about her writing. As an individual? Aimee is a genuine as they come with a transparency that draws you in and makes you want to get to know her more. I was thrilled when she accepted my invitation to write for Only a Season. I find that I keep coming back to her writing when I feel overwhelmed in this life as a mom and she has yet again, written a beautiful piece about motherhood.
In the quiet space of the evening, I am nestled beside him in his tiny bed. The golden light of the fading day illuminates his bedroom and he seems to shine as he drifts off to sleep beside me. Across the room his older brother draws in his journal, glancing over at us every once in awhile to flash a grin that beams pure adoration. I wonder how it is possible that in just a few months I will be the mother to a seven-year-old; it seems only a moment ago that I held my swelling belly, imagining with anticipation all of the ways in which my life was about to change.
In the room beside us, the tiniest of my three is contentedly sleeping, at last. An hour has been spent going from room to room to rock, nurse, read, tuck in and settle down, kiss, rock, and settle down all over again; bedtime can seem an endless feat. Just as I get my five-month-old into her crib, one of her big brothers bursts in to tell me about the bedtime book they’d like for me to read. Just as I begin to read the storybook, baby sister lets out a wail for one last cuddle. I feel my teeth grit and my patience wane as I long for a moment of solitude before my own bedtime calls my name. That hour before my home surrenders to dreaming can undo all of the gentle parenting I have worked so hard to practice throughout the day, if I’m not careful.
Yet, it always comes, the sigh and the closing of eyes, and I find myself snuggled in my boys’ room, unable to rise and walk away. The desire to be alone suddenly dissipates as I watch them sleep, reflecting upon these happiest days of my life.
It is a feeling that whispers to me throughout our days at home together. When a toothless, gummy smile is beaming up at me, or the preschooler’s giggle fills my kitchen with joy, the feeling floods in — these are the best days of my life.
When I watch their little hands growing more capable with every passing day, building blocks and painting with watercolors, it calls to me — this is the happiest you will ever be.
As I see them toddle into their first steps, and in a flicker, ride away on their two-wheeled bikes, the feeling beckons — hold on to these moments, for soon they will be recalled as the golden days.
Suddenly, in the midst of the chatter and Lego-constructing and mudpie-baking, I find tears rising as I play the numbers game. Almost seven. If seven years can fly so quickly, then that means fourteen will be here in a flash. And fourteen is just four years away from eighteen – then what will I do?
They say the days of childhood are fleeting; is the best time of my life fleeting, too? If so, then this moment is just falling through my hands like grains of sand before I can grasp them. If they are all slipping away, what, then, is there to hold on to?
It is the greatest conundrum of parenthood. We find ourselves caught between the hope for the future and the power of the present. We are bombarded with messages to savor the moment, while being cautioned to regard each as the best we will ever know.
Tell me then, how are we to acknowledge the honor we have in standing in this season of mothering, without regarding it with just a tinge of sadness, too?
So I find myself, after the sunlight has settled into moonlight, waiting just a moment longer in the quiet of my children’s rooms. Kissing their little heads lost in dreamland. Memorizing the sight of their tiny toes jutting out from under their blankets. Watching their chests rise and fall as I give thanks for their health, for their happiness, for this blessing of being their mother. Praying that they will have the courage and the fortitude to live honorable lives of service and goodness.
As each day closes, I am met with a choice. I can be lost to the bittersweet thought of another day passing, or I can gratefully surrender to the beauty that will be forever carried in my heart.
Each night in their rooms I choose surrender, and commit that with the sunrise, I will pour my presence into the moment, while pouring my spirit into trusting in the promise of the future.
Aimee is a homeschooling mama to three on a journey to get real with motherhood. Whenever she can find a quiet moment, usually in the stillness of the night, she writes soul-searching reflections at MamaCentric (www.mamacentric.com) in an effort stay centered in this beautiful chaos called motherhood. She is a regular contributor to Austin Moms Blog and has had her work featured on Scary Mommy and Youshare Project, and hopes that her words inspire others to always seek the joy in their lives.