Before I was a mama I imagined that raising kids was easy.
My young mind pictured motherhood as holding babies, changing diapers, late-night feedings and early afternoon naps.
I pictured firsts. First words, first tooth, first steps.
Never did I envision mouthy toddlers, independent school-age kids, and a sulky teenager.
I didn’t foresee the days of exhaustion and thanklessness.
The heartache, doubt, regret, and irritation that sneaks in on a daily basis.
Before I was a mama I equated having a baby to instantaneous happiness.
I didn’t think my life would be any less but so much more.
And part of me was right.
Babies are hard work and in giving so much of yourself away to care for them, you might feel like you lose yourself, the person you were before.
I know at times, many times, I did.
But before my eyes, as my babies grew through the years I started to see the light in motherhood.
It comes from little messy smiles, an unexpected hug, bedtime cuddles, Eskimo and butterfly kisses, the sound of their laughter, knowing that to them you are the entire world.
As they grow it comes in the form of asking your opinion, telling you about their day, asking how your day’s been, an ‘I love you mom” in a text, wanting to sit next to you on the couch, still giving you hugs even though they are almost as tall as you.
Like life, motherhood goes through phases and they are each so precious, yet so fleeting.
Don’t rush them.
In the blink of an eye, they will be over.
Nothing about being a mama is like I pictured long ago in my youthful days, long before I could ever understand this kind of grace, this kind of sacrifice, this kind of joy.
I could never know because I had never understood this kind of love before.
Until I was a mama.