This is my motherhood. | written by Alexandria Smith
It’s raw and it’s precious. It’s early mornings, and late nights. It’s messy and profound. It’s giving your whole heart without expecting anything in return. Motherhood is healing wounds, soothing hard feelings. It’s filling your cup to the brim and letting it overflow. It’s full of sacrifice and humility. It’s a futile yet valiant effort to guard these little souls from any pain, any heartache, to keep them from experiencing nothing but joy for all their days.
A season overflowing with ample cheeks, warm skin nuzzled close, sweet duck feather wisps of gold hair swept aside by mothers’ hands; a season so abundantly precious. I kiss tops of heads and hold little hands, conversing the day away with chattering babes. We sit beneath the great trees on our little patch of earth each morning; the cool air saturating our bodies still warm from our beds. Trees that serve as a palatial dwelling for all sorts of creatures; frogs, birds, and curious four year olds. I watch my children intently as they dart here and there, playing make believe, making me the special of the day (mud pie usually), praying so fiercely that I can etch these days from this season into my mind with a cut so deep that they will never leave me.
Our bond is only made stronger when we are amongst nature. Tiny hands thrust stones into the sea, a kaleidoscope of pebbles lay underfoot. Little legs carry busy bodies to and from the water, pouring a little here, a little there, submerging that technicolor mosaic. I stack stones, watching my sweet boy teeter out of the tide pools, chubby feet on uncertain ground, giggles erupt as bum meets water. I stretch my arms behind me, plunging my hands into the grainy earth, filling my nose with that briny air. A reminder of all things simple and uninterrupted, when throwing rocks into the tide with my family can saturate me so completely, down to the very marrow of my bones.
A tiny baby girl with plump cheeks and eyes like two blue moons, is the one who gave me the title of “mother.” At four years old she still asks nightly, just as I’m tucking her into bed, her beloved stuffed lamb (slightly mangey and possibly crucial) nuzzled closely next to her blankie (entirely mangey and completely crucial), if I will rock her. Each time, although weary from the day and eager to climb into bed myself, I never hesitate to say yes. Of course my love. I sway back and forth humming that lullaby we’ve always hummed, her little voice staying in tune with my own, and I’m always grateful I said yes. Always. Because the only comfort I find in the excruciating process of watching my children grow older, is knowing that I can look back on our days, and know I said yes. We rocked. We sang. We danced around like loons. We nursed, and I’m grateful for it all.
My second born came into the world like a leaf floating on a crisp fall wind; with ridiculous haste and an unyielding resolve to do as one might suggest. Tired eyes darted towards my husband just as our son made his maiden voyage into the room. His words still echo in my head, “it’s a baby boy!” A smile formed on my lips that hasn’t left my mouth in almost two years. Our boy was here. A boy I knew I had met before, the moment his eyes met mine. I had known all along he was meant to be ours; perhaps we even made a little joke about it however many whatevers ago in a place where time is not time at all, but just a matter of when, not if. This boy has changed me in the most reverent of ways. For the past few weeks this 20 month old of mine has (finally) been sleeping through the night without waking to nurse. I should be elated, right? I think I’m supposed to be thrilled, thankful even. I shouldn’t be continually forcing this lump in my throat to stay down. I shouldn’t have this nagging feeling of an impending change that I don’t want to happen. This incessant thud in my heart that seems to sound a little harder when I think about the future. I’ll miss those quiet snuggles in the stillness of the night. The way he climbs over and rests his head on my husband’s chest when he’s done, savoring that undeniable comfort and safety he must feel sandwiched between us. I hope my children always feel that way in our midst. Even when the world causes them to feel all the feelings, I pray they always find an emotional recharge, a cocoon of all things safe and warm, and good, when they are nuzzled between us.
He calls me in with those little whimpers. I peek in to see him standing in his crib, chubby hands gripping wood that once was white, now worn away from tiny teeth. He welcomes my arms by diving into them. “it’s nigh nigh my love.” He lays his head on my shoulder. I move from side to side, his heavy eyes threatening to close. He points to the rocker, urging me to sit. For a moment I think of all that needs to be done outside of this room, but then I feel his breath, tranquil and quiet, and I know my most important work is done right here. You see, this boy and I, we are milking this baby phase for all its got. Society says abbreviate babydom. Make babies into toddlers, toddlers to kids, kids to teens, teens to adults. Society and I, well we’ve had words. Because I will preserve these fleeting moments. This time that defiantly turns its back on us. I will nurse my two year old and I will rock my four year old, and I will cherish every moment of it. Because one day she won’t ask me to rock her. One day there won’t be messes everywhere. One day there won’t be a chubby baby tugging on my shirt eager for milk and snuggles. One day they will just be memories, and knowing I said yes.
I was so honored to have this piece featured on Fount Collective! You can find it here.
All images taken on Fuji 400h film.