Tuesday, October 1, 2013

On humbling elegance and sublime reality.

The music outside the closed door blared, singing the song of celebration for a bride and groom who were happily dancing away, blissfully unaware of what we three sat doing in the privacy of the bridal suite.

Surely, such a pack had never before been assembled in this room, which, after all, was designed for the beauties and perfection of the before, not the wonderful, imperfect chaos of the after.

Still, here we gathered.  Heels on.  Decked out for the first time in many months in clothing that was unblemished from sticky fingers or spit up.  Hair and make up done.  Feeling like we belonged to only ourselves.

Fancy, some might say.

Except for the fact that all three around the room had a boob out.

In the pristine bridal suite to the tune of Beyonce while the other guests danced and drank mere yards away, the first two still trying to provide for new babies, and me, trying desperately {and failing painfully, necessitating said visit to the bridal suite} to rid myself of it after a year of nursing.

For the record: this is what happens after you put a ring on it.  {If you're really lucky.}

In the midst of this completely comic bonding moment, I couldn't help but again be struck by how many, many things I'd like to say to people who don't have children.  How I'm convinced that a great divide exists between us in so many ways, and how much I struggle when people expect me to be the same person I was BC - Before Children.

How I wish I could explain to them that, five years ago I was the pretty girl in the bridal suite with perfect hair and makeup.  Never, ever, ever in a million years would I have anticipated that I'd be spending part of my night pulling on my girlie bits to squirt milk into a kleenex --- with two other moms doing the exact same thing {less the kleenex; breast milk is GOLD unless you're trying to make it go away}.

What kind of bizarre world have I been launched into?!  THIS is motherhood?!

And it is.

In all it's humbling elegance, this is motherhood.  It takes us places we never imagined we'd go.

How can you put into words the terrifying heartache of sitting up with a tiny, sick baby, listening to her labored breath and praying with silent tears that this simple cold isn't something more dangerous?

How can you explain the patience and emotional fortitude required when the baby spends his entire day screaming bloody murder at you, or the toddler knocks another bowl of cereal off the table, or the potty trained preschooler decides to pee on the floor for no apparent reason?

How can you explain the way your child's broken-hearted cries rip at your soul; the way it makes you ache for anyone and everyone who has ever suffered a child who is chronically hungry or terminally sick?

How do you put into words the way time moves forward both joyfully and painfully?  Yes, we are thrilled our children are growing and thriving, but oh how we wish we could live in these divine, ordinary, difficult moments forever.  And simultaneously, how we cannot wait for that magical hour called bed time, when we finally get to take off our riot gear and eat a full meal (in a chair!  Without sharing!) and listen to the voices in our own head for a few blessed minutes.  How can you express the logic-defying way that Motherhood is filled with long days and short years?

I wasn't prepared for how different my life would be when children became part of the equation.  I wasn't prepared to be different down to my core.  No one ever is.

But I am grateful.  It is the most wonderful of callings, and it requires every ounce of who we are.  It refines us through struggle, through tears and failure, through joy so potent you can hold it in your hand, through questioning every single decision we ever make.

But mostly, it changes us because it's just us out there, doing the best we can with what we have and what we know, to love those babies into really, really great humans.

Even when that requires us to squirt milk into a kleenex while wearing a fancy dress.


  1. It is quite amazing isn't it? There really is no way of explaining it. People just have to experience it.

    1. No doubt about it! The strangest, toughest, most awe-inspiring journey I've ever been on!


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