Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Growing into Motherhood

I spent the weekend at my cousin's wedding on the Outer Banks of North Carolina. When I booked my ticket back in the fall, it was nearly $500, and we couldn't figure out how to spend $1,500 for all three of us to attend the wedding for a couple days (since we were feverishly saving up money to convert our 85% loan-to-value construction loan to an 80% loan-to-value 30-year-fixed mortgage).

Part of me was really excited to have a weekend away by myself before the baby comes. But as it got closer and closer, I grew sadder and sadder that my guys couldn't join me at the beach.

Although I had a fantastic time hanging out with my mom, brother, grandparents, and cousins at the wedding, I missed Henry with an aching quality (side note: I always miss Matt; I'm focusing on Henry because this post is specifically about how I'm growing into motherhood).

The aching made me realize just how far I've come as a mother. When Henry was born, I didn't feel that overwhelming unconditional bear-mama love that mothers are "supposed to" feel. I didn't feel like I loved him more than anyone or anything in my life. I felt like I needed to get to know him. I knew that the roots of deep love were planted, but I didn't know how long it would take for them to grow tall and strong.

And although I took care of him lovingly, patiently, and diligently through the infant stage, it wasn't until around 16 months into our relationship together when the joy started to outweigh the hardship.

And so when I was separated from my sweet boy for a mere four days and I ached to be with him, I felt a sense of relief that I had, in fact, grown into motherhood.

And when I read this piece in the New York Times about cultivating independence in our children so that they can go into the world and pursue their own lives full of meaning and joy, I cried. I am already saddened by the notion of our boys growing up, needing us less, turning outward more, and then flying off into the world.

Life is a staggeringly short and amazing opportunity. I'm working hard to savor each stage. This pregnancy is most likely the last time I will carry around new life and feel its movements on a daily basis. And then we will welcome a tiny new being into our family. Although he will push us is many ways, he will also allow us to experience the utter amazingness of life unfolding. I am overwhelmed with gratitude.

Some other texts that are touchstones to me during this parenting journey that I would like to keep in a consolidated place:

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Nora said...

one of your loveliest posts yet.

Sarah said...

Thanks for sharing this post and the NY Times article. Both brought tears to my eyes.

Anonymous said...

My daughter just turned two, which has sparked a reflection/comparison of the last two years, and I definitely feel like I've grown much more attached to her and who she IS in the second year. I miss specific things about her when I am away! Really enjoyed this post.

Montessor Karla said...

I just read Glennon Melton's book "Carry on Warrior". I think you would like it - http://austin.bibliocommons.com/item/show/913981067_carry_on,_warrior

Great post. I'm feeling the same way.

Andrea said...

Great post - really loved the articles, and as always your honesty about parenting. I have a son about Henry's age - some moments absolute delight others less so - "more. More" etc

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