Monday, May 14, 2012

Capturing Motherhood

Each year, Mother's Day comes & goes.

Flowers are given. Breakfast is made. Cards are created. Mothers everywhere are praised for the work that they do. Churches ask them to stand to be noticed, restaurants hand out roses & complete strangers wish them a happy mother's day. But, alas, after just 24 short hours, we moms return to the trenches.

And honestly. . .  the trenches is where I revel the most in the glory of motherhood.

You know the trenches I'm talking about. The unseen ones. 
The middle-of-the-night fevers.
Packing lunches.
Praying over them while you watch their chest rise & fall. 
Wiping smeared peanut butter off the glass windows.
Finding leftovers snacks hidden in their closet...   a week later.
Changing diapers in the parking lot.
Spending the night in the bathroom, assuring them it will be over by morning.
Long hours spent on school projects.
Laying awake all night while your unborn baby kicks relentlessly.
Constantly pretending we are lost in the woods & we have no food to eat.
Answering 30 questions during a 10 minute car ride.

Can you relate to my trenches?

I can feel them slipping away at times. . .  My oldest is beginning to care for herself more than I would like. My youngest. . . well, he's feeding himself now. How is time slipping away so fast?

After being a mother for nearly 12 years, I am learning there is no way to hold on to this thing called. . . time. Sure, you can snap thousands of pictures. You can record countless hours of video. You can collect dozens of maternity shots, holding that belly that will soon disappear. You can imprint their hands on all sorts of materials, trying desperately to capture their littleness. You can even blog everyday, just so you'll have all the memories written down. But, none of these things will capture your motherhood.

Your motherhood is literally defined by the quiet moments. Not on film. Not in ink. It's not in the color-coordinated outfits or the perfect Christmas greeting card.
It's in the kisses you plant on their cheeks. The tiny hands you hold. The answers you give to all their questions. The countless fevers you soothe. The many prayers you speak over them. It's your touch, your voice, your influence over them.

And I have come to realize the only way I will know I have captured my motherhood is by literally telling myself one thing - I am enjoying this. I enjoyed it! Yes! That's it. Speak that to yourself while you prepare their meals. At the park. In the middle of the night, rocking away the fussiness. Cleaning out the crumbs from the folds of the couches. Answering the same question for the tenth time.

Soon it will be gone. Your home will be clean. The smears will be no more. The little questions from the backseat will grow silent. But, you will remember one thing. . . You enjoyed the trenches.