No sound has ever been as sweet as the first, second and thousandth time that she exclaimed, “mamamama!” I grew weary when the exclamations went from happiness to a part of crying or whining. How can I not respond right away, she is crying for me?
I didn’t know what I was getting into when I started this journey, before the swollen feet and sleepless nights. “Mama” is so much more than babble or a name. It represents every need, ones for food and clean diapers and even unusual needs like putting a little hand into my mouth while nursing to sleep for comfort.
Sometimes when I am beckoned for the tenth (going on hundredth) time of the morning I get annoyed, I am human. Motherhood is a million bothersome and tiresome moments banished by single moments of pure joy. If you make an effort to be present, those joyful moments occur more noticeably and make the “job” a whole lot easier.
Good day or bad day, a gummy smile and silly giggle will turn my world upside down in the most beautiful way. I am HER “mama.” Rocking in the dark, feeling her soft, tiny hand on my cheek, I beg my mind to imprint that feeling in my soul. I never want to let it go. But as time goes on I can’t quite remember exactly what she looked like new to the world and what those first few weeks felt like. No one likes to hear how fast it goes because we all are hyperaware of each fleeting moment when we can be.
Today I pledge (as much as I can) to embrace each “mama,” happy or whiny. One day I will cease to be “mama” and simply become “mom.” I don’t dread it. My heart feels like a hundred pound weight is weighing on it when I think of the years that keep flying by. Soon she won’t want me to rock her, pick her up or kiss her toes. And one day I may even need her more than she needs me, I may even become a burden. I won’t let her ever become mine.
To the new mom, don’t let people talk you into letting your baby cry. Your baby will not become spoiled and will not go to Kindergarten still needing to be rocked to sleep. Take a needed and brief break to breath and start fresh. This is all very temporary and an incredibly small amount of time in the scheme of our lives, although I know sometimes that it doesn’t feel like it. We all need perspective and to be brought back down to earth at times, and it’s ok. You will think crazy thoughts when the stress levels get high, but you are not alone and you will not act on them. Share with those around you, ask and LET people help you. Delegate tasks if you need to.
Sometimes things get heavy, especially words. “Mama” can bring you to your knees with joy and even exhaustion. When family, friends and strangers urge you to enjoy it all because time goes by so fast, it hurts and it weighs on every fiber of our being because deep down we know. We are living it. Don’t be terrified of the future and the threat of years of regret and nostalgia. Do the best you can. Some days you can only simply hold on for dear life. But when you have the time, take a moment to embrace it; the tired, the crazy, the messy, the love.