Sunday, May 11, 2014
Thoughts for Mother's Day
"Look at these pretend-cracks," my three-year-old says, running her finger along the stretch marks on my stomach.
"Yeah, aren't they awesome?" my husband says, "Those are Mom's battle scars."
We lie in bed together, the three-year-old nestled between us and the two-year-old climbing and rolling across all of us. She pauses to kiss my bulging belly. "Hi Baby Evie!" She turns to look at me, laughing. "It moved!" Sure enough, the baby is shifting and rolling, responding to the movements and voices of her sisters. Six more weeks and they'll be kissing her head instead of my stomach.
It's Mother's Day morning, and in spite of the fact that I'm large and achy with the extra 45 lbs I've gained in the last 7.5 months, today those stretch marks don't feel like battle scars. In fact, today they seem so insignificant that it amuses me Cim even noticed them.
My feelings about motherhood have shifted and evolved so much over the last two years. From adjusting and accepting to recognizing my abilities as well as my limits, I feel like I've come a long way since I last had a small baby in my arms. My world with toddlers has been so much different than the world I lived in when I had one young toddler and a baby. I feel like it's now time, and our family is ready, to add this new baby and step forward into another phase, another time of adjustment and learning.
And, as always on Mother's Day, my thoughts turn to my own mother, and all I've learned from her. Two years ago I wrote a Mother's Day post thanking her for many things, mostly giving me freedom to explore and grow, even if it meant getting dirty or taking risks. This year those things are still important to me, but a few other things stand out more.
Thank you, Mom, for teaching piano lessons when I was young.
Thank you for tossing us in the pool while you coached high school diving, and dragging us along to sit on the bleachers or in the coach's office when you had to judge diving meets.
Thank you for attending sewing seminars and making wedding dresses (even though it stressed you out far more than you thought it was worth).
Thank you for buying "genius level" vocabulary tapes for us to listen to in the car, not because you thought we needed it, but because YOU wanted to learn.
Thank you for buying multiple college lecture series on video and audio, partially because we were home schooled, but mostly because you wanted them.
Thank you for taking us with you when you tutored the Chinese students who moved to the area speaking no English.
Thank you for showing me, in so many ways I never even noticed until I became a mom, that you were a real person with interests and hobbies and goals and dreams--all while home schooling us, which meant doing all these things with little people hovering over your shoulder and tripping on your heels. We knew we were the most important thing in your world--we had to be, or why on earth would you let us stay home with you all the time--but we also saw you doing things to enrich your mind and refill your emotional reserves.
I don't know what having three kids will be like. I don't know if this baby will sleep any better than the last two. I don't know how well I'll be able to maintain the activities I've gotten back into as my first two daughters have gotten old enough to play on their own more. But I know from experience that I'll reach that point again, and I know from watching you that I'll have time for those things eventually, and that if I put my kids first, they'll only benefit from seeing me pursue my goals.
Thank you, Mom, for being you.
Happy Mother's Day.