19 years ago I started this mothering gig. It’s been almost two decades. It’s been my entire adult life so far.
I was only a little slip of a 19 year old when we got pregnant with Naomi. In that first trimester I lost fifteen pounds off my then-tiny frame from the hyperemesis that stole my appetite and left me heaving thirty times a day.
I was still a little slip of a 19 year old when I pushed her out after three hard days of labor. I remember so many of those first moments. My hunger after labor and how good the tray of hospital food tasted as I wolfed it down. The warm blanket and the pain finally gone. The look in my baby’s eyes when she was first placed in my arms. The way everything changed when I saw how she needed me.
Naomi was my hardest baby. For months she cried and cried, disturbed by everything. The world was too prickly for her.
Those were some hard months of sacrifice. I laid down my life for her. Nursing her till I bled. Holding her till I ached. Walking with her till I was so exhausted I cried.
I whispered to her through her tears: you are my baby and I will make you safe.
Sometimes I feel we grew up together, Naomi and I.
As she grew, I learned what she wanted from this prickly world. She was fond of freedom and she taught me her ways.
I learned to listen to her and she gentled me.
She was often scared. I tried not to let her see how scared I was too.
And somehow as I mothered her I became more brave.
Motherhood is least of all about the knowing of all things. None of us do.
Motherhood is instead the sacred of process of letting our children gentle us and make us wild all at once.
If we can let go of what we feel they SHOULD be, SHOULD do, SHOULD look like, or say, or want.
Then they can teach us who they ARE.
And this is what it means to be a Mother. To be the sun shining on our fragile-strong flower children. To be the rain falling. To be the wind blowing. To be the rainbow shining overhead. To be the soil they lay their roots into.
And then to let them bloom. And to let their now-strong stems hold the seeds of their blooming. And to be the wind that blows their seeds forward into new adventures, new soil. To let them go, strong and good. And to be stronger and better because of them.