Do you remember the first moment your child came into this world? That moment, that instant when your life changed from you to them? Do you remember that viscous, writhing weight that warmed your chest and filled your eyes with tears? At that precise moment, mothers, you were there. You were present, you were transformed, you were alive, you were powerful.
And then somehow, along the path of motherhood, things changed. The diapers seemed endless. The crying, the writhing, the fussing seemed interminable and left you wondering what had actually happened in that moment when life became less about you and all about them.
The boundless moments of joy, bearing witness to the first smile, rejoicing in the first laugh, documenting the first steps, shriveled under the seemingly insurmountable loss of you – do you look back at photographs, searching the eyes of the woman who had so desperately wanted that child, and wondering where she was that day?
The sticky hand that searched for yours as you skipped along the sidewalk, eyes gazing down in search of treasures, has long since left your grasp. Do you remember that smile, tiny baby teeth and lips smudged with chocolate? Do you?
Those moments, so seemingly insignificant at the time, harness their power when they’re gone.
The endless “why, Mommy, why?” whispered (or screeched) by your toddler transforms into silence from your teen. The days when you couldn’t wait to strap them into their car seat and take a deep breath disappear as they back their own car out of the driveway. The evenings when you dreamed of a moment alone to just ‘be’ slip into your dreams as you struggle to stay awake to hear their key in the lock.
Mothers, when you hear your mother say the years go by so fast, believe her. Remember that childhood is fleeting, and motherhood lasts forever. But you need to stay awake. Stay present. Rejoice in the glory of the moment.
This post was inspired by the novel A Well Tempered Heart by Jan-Philipp Sendker. Feeling lost and burned out, Julia drops her well paying job at a NYC law firm. After hearing a stranger’s voice in her head, she travels to Burma to find the voice’s story and hopefully herself as well. Join From Left to Write on February 4 we discuss A Well-Tempered Heart. As a member, I received a copy of the book for review purposes.