Today I’m at the end. End of myself, end of my rope. Something’s gotta give.
Good thing you didn’t tell me that being a mother would be this hard, because I might not have become one. Or maybe I would have, because surely raising little humans isn’t as crazy as every parent makes it out to be.
I have a two-year old. She’s wonderful and amazing and practically has a halo floating above her head. I’m serious. This child is as precious as can be. In fact, she is peacefully sleeping away in my arms at this very moment. What could be better than that?
This is one of those moments that looks perfect from the outside. One of those “too good to be true” scenarios, folks. You know, the one where you see me tenderly rocking my baby to sleep in her perfectly designed nursery, inside our white-picket-fenced house, amidst the tree-lined street in our classy suburban neighborhood. That one.
Only it isn’t real. You see a child peacefully sleeping in my arms, but what you don’t see is the fluster and anxiety in my heart as I desperately try to keep her asleep. Every time I have put her down today, she has instantly woken up crying. And it is grating.
The truth is, many days I am completely overwhelmed by how amazing my life is. My husband and I often talk about how we could have never dreamed up such a perfect child. Last night was one of those times that we found ourselves sitting at the dinner table, staring at our daughter with happy tears in our eyes and thankfulness in our hearts, wondering just what we did to deserve this gift God has given us.
That was yesterday. Then today happened. You mothers know what I’m talking about. I’m talking about that Saturday you wake up and start melting down before you even get to the kitchen for your first cup of coffee because you have 500 things on your morning to-do list and don’t know how you’ll get them all done. I’m talking about that morning you go to put on a nice outfit for the luncheon you’re attending, and all the ugly emotions you have about those 10 lbs you gained since Christmas come gushing out because you are now painfully aware that nothing fits anymore. I’m talking about that morning your toddler cannot seem to keep herself occupied with the toys you’ve given her to play with in her high chair while you scramble to get breakfast on the table, so she starts gagging herself for attention. I’m talking about that morning you think she is fast asleep in bed, only to enter the room to find that her ileostomy bag is leaking everywhere (think blowout) and she is actively throwing up.
And I’m talking about that morning you are confined to the rocker as your child sleeps in your arms, knowing she will instantly wake up the moment you try to put her down. So none of the 500 things you need to do actually get done, you can’t fit a shower in, and then you show up to that luncheon 45 minutes late with only half of your makeup on.
That morning. That was my morning, today. It was hard.
As I stood over my daughter, poop literally pouring out of her bag and puke spewing out of her mouth, I found myself sobbing and crying out “God, I can’t do this! It’s too hard. I’m too tired. This isn’t how it’s supposed to be!” There I was, standing in the middle of all selfishness and sinfulness, feeling sorry for myself. For me. I felt sorry for me.
Meanwhile, my precious Hope was lying in a mess, probably extremely uncomfortable, and I heard not a whine from her. Over the past two years of adversity, she has learned with such grace to take life in stride, never complaining at the curve balls thrown her way. She just threw up, and yet I was the one feeling beside myself and crying. As tears streamed down my face, Hope looked up at me, smiled, and in the most gentle and soft voice said “Mom.”
Mom. That’s me.
Yes, that’s me. I’m a mother. This is who I am; this is what I do. When the days wear on and the nights seem to last an eternity, and when all my attention is on my child and I have to spend hours rocking her to sleep, and when I am at the end of myself with nothing left to give, I pray I will always be able to look at the gift in front of me and have the assurance that I’m just where I’m supposed to be.