What does motherhood look like? Is it one size fits all? Do we all wear it a little differently? Answers … I don’t know, no and um, yeah.
This selfie was taken at 6pm on a Friday night. Last night, my son, nearly 8 months old, was up at 10 with Dad, 11 with me, then 2:30 and 4:30 with me again. I’d awoken in a panic at midnight after a dream that a mechanic had broken into our garage and was repairing two old beat up trucks (not ours, we don’t have trucks). When I walked in, he pulled a gun on me. Seriously, I can’t make this crap up. My dreams are weird. But, I digress. So, it’s midnight, I get up and check the locks and realize I haven’t seen one of our cats. I search every room, nothing, then I wake up my husband who says the cat’s name and the cat responds. Genius. I fall back asleep, only to awake at 1 to check on my son. And then, well you know the rest.
So, needless to say I look tired.
Work on this day was normal, but overall it was good day. I did break down and cry once, though. Daycare sent a photo of him playing outside and going down the slide with one of the teachers holding him. My eyes stung with the realization that I missed his first slide. I wasn’t there to hear him squeal with delight as he sat on my lap and rode down.
So, maybe I look a little sad too.
This photo was taken right after he finished nursing. Like so many other times, he’d fallen asleep on my chest and his soft breathing was the only thing I could hear. I soaked it in and rested my hand on his back so I could feel his lungs rise and fall as they fill with air. I might have closed my own eyes for a moment just to join in his calm.
So, maybe I look at least a little peaceful.
Sometimes, as he’s resting on my chest, his little heart pumping away and his tiny breaths are slow and measured, I find myself wondering what I may have done to deserve this happy, sweet boy. I get to be a mom because of him. He gives me a reason to push forward and demand a better future. He makes me a better person.
So, I must look amazed and fulfilled.
When we picked him up from daycare, he smiled, giggled and reached for me. He recognized me as his person. And, then he reach for his dad; his other person. At work as the minutes clunk along, I often think about that little smile and giggle and it makes me smile and giggle.
So, I look happy.
I often check Facebook while he’s quietly nursing. His eyes are closed, so he isn’t watching me. Though, I am sure he often sees me on my phone. I am working on that. My newsfeed is full of horrible stories and terrifying politics. I wonder what world I brought him into. Will his generation know peace and love? Or, will they only witness fear, terror and destruction.
So, I’m sure I look scared.
This is the face of motherhood. It’s tired, sad, peaceful, amazed, fulfilled, happy and scared. It’s also a little confused at times and overly confident at others. As overwhelming as all this sounds, when I look in the mirror I often still see the little girl that used to look at her own mother with a sense of wonder, love and pride. I can only hope my son will see me the same.