Is there anything softer than a young child’s hair or their skin? What is it about a child that curls its way into a mother’s heart and sits so comfortably and heavily at the same time? I have been a bit stunned by the mushy underbelly of mine that has been exposed due to the presence of my children.
I have memorized their features, become accustomed to the slight changes in their voices so that I am immediately aware of true distress — and typically, the specific type of distress. I take great joy in what fascinates them. Their smiles immediately spark my own. Their child-like chortles give me a burst of happiness that resurfaces whenever I remember the moment. I reminisce about their milestones and the clever way that they reached them. (The first sentence my older child uttered was in response to asking him if he wanted a pickle. Green Eggs and Ham was his favorite books, so he said – complete with the Elmer Fudd’s “r”– , “I would not like a pickle here or there. I would not like it anywhere.”)I cheer their accomplishments like they’ve won the super bowl. (There are a lot of impromptu dance parties at our house.) I subject myself to inane music because I like to hear them sing along. And 99% of the time, their needs come before my own.
What I don’t like about being a mother? The Feeding of the People. Wake up. Feed the People. Get yourself ready for the day, but before you’re done you need to Feed the People. Squeeze in an errand or the gym. Feed the people. Short down time while we Nap the People. Then Feed the People when they get up. Cook dinner for the People with at least one of the People making it very hard to walk around my kitchen as he tries to climb my legs as if he were monkey, and I were a tree. All the while yelling his most impressive, “I’m hungry. Why don’t you ever Feed the People?” cry. Sit down to dinner and Feed the People. But even in the typing of this paragraph, I’m smiling. But I won’t go so far as to say I will probably miss this part of parenting young children.
And why is it that when you’re in a hurry, it’s an automatic signal to a toddler to slow down to turtle speed and for the baby to blow out his diaper and for the keys to hide in some unknown dust hole. I’m just saying.
And that sums up a lot of motherhood for me. It’s both sentimental and funny; heartwarming and exasperating. It’s the nitty-gritty of life at its finest.