Lately I've been thinking about the many stages of mothering.
Is there any other vocation with so many changes, so many experiences that can't be related to or known, unless gone through?
I remember the first time I realized I was pregnant. No matter how badly I wanted to be a mother, no matter how many other mothers I had talked to about it or books read, there was no real preparation for realizing you held a little being within your being. There was no way to understand the nausea, the tiredness, the delight when I felt a small someone kicking a book perched on my stomach. No way to know what labor was going to feel like ( admittedly that one has taken quite awhile, they are all so different. :) No way to wrap your mind around the joy of holding that little being in your arms once he arrived. No way to understand that forever your heart would be tied to theirs. That you would feel every pain and joy, excitement, nervousness ,despair or hope that they feel inside your own soul. ( every one you know about, anyway :)
When you have just babies you can't imagine ever having enough sleep, or not changing a diaper. When you have all toddlers you wonder if you will ever be able to sit still, to not constantly be on alert lest they fall or wander off.....
and on and on it goes. One day when I had all small ones I was talking to my sister in law on the phone and she was telling me her nine year old was making cookies. Wonder of wonder! A child doing something so advanced! Would I ever get to those days?
Yes, they have come and gone. And will still come and go for some time.
I have experienced many of the mysteries of motherhood. Potty training, drivers training, starting school, graduating from school....even the mysteries you hold your breath and hope you will never know.... holding a very tiny little boy, still...with no life in his fragile body. No, no one can help you to understand the icy cold pain of losing one so unexpectedly.
Yet, there are still some out there for me. Some I am just getting used to. For a very long time I couldn't imagine any of mine living apart from us. Now there have been two. I still sneak into the laundry room and let the tears come. I wonder if that will ever become commonplace like having someone who can now cook a 4 course meal, or babysit, or go to the store for me.
Having a married child is an unknown, having a grandchild. Having an empty nest ( well, that one might never happen anyway ;).
I don't think you can ever say you have arrived as a mother. It seems like no matter how long you've been at it there will always be something new waiting for you on the horizon.
|From out the front of being, undefiled,|
A life hath been upheaved with struggle and pain;
Safe in her arms a mother holds again
That dearest miracle--a new-born child.
To moans of anguish terrible and wild--
As shrieks the night-wind through an ill-shut pane--
Pure heaven succeeds; and after fiery strain
Victorious woman smiles serenely mild.
Yea, shall she not rejoice, shall not her frame
Thrill with a mystic rapture! At this birth,
The soul now kindled by her vital flame
May it not prove a gift of priceless worth?
Some saviour of his kind whose starry fame
Shall bring a brightness to the darkened earth.