When my first (my sweet Little Man) arrived, the fog that blanketed my life was thick. The first few months were a haze. I was in survival mode. I missed so much of his precious newborn stage. I was here, of course. I was present for all of it. Still, I missed so much. The anxiety that I felt, that I carried around, was nearly crippling. I wasn’t prepared for it. I wasn’t ready. I didn’t know what to do. I cried a lot. I cried because I was sad. Because I was so happy. Because I was scared. Because I felt alone. My heart felt swollen. I was raw.
I don’t think I fell in love with him instantly. I mean, in a way, yes, sure, most definitely. Yet, no, I didn’t. With N, it felt a little like dating. We took our time. We got to know each other. I learned. I learned even more. My heart and my love grew slowly and steadily each day, as I adjusted to my new role. Guiltily, I mourned my old life, I grieved it’s passing, while marveling at my new one. It was such a time of change. It didn’t all happen overnight, but as time marched on, I began to feel like a mother. Slowly, I stopped thinking about the freedom that I no longer had and started looking at all that I DID have… so much. As the fog began to fade, a new normal was born. Life evolves.
With my second (my Little Miss), the fog fell lighter. I could still see. I was still me. My life, though changed, was not unhinged by this new addition. My love came hard and fast. With her, I fell immediately. I looked at her and I already knew her. I knew what she needed. I knew what to give her. But, it was only because N had paved the way for her. He taught me, changed me, made me a mother. So, when A came along, that’s what I was – a mother. That’s what I did – I mothered. Thanks to him.
One thing that I was totally unprepared for, one thing no one told me about motherhood, was how lonely it would sometimes be. I am surrounded by love, yet at times, all alone. It’s strange. A contradiction of emotions.
I didn’t know how I’d miss my friends. I do. My friendships have evolved and shifted as we each, one by one, step into motherhood. Things change. Friendships change. They don’t know that I need them more than ever. Connection. But, I do. Yet, we are all knee deep in our own day in, day out, messy, beautiful lives.
After N was born, I went back to work. I was too busy to feel lonely. I was focused. When A arrived, I didn’t go back. I became a stay-at-home-mom (for so many different reasons). From day one, it was more than I was expecting. More than I was prepared for. More than I can even explain. It’s a blessing. The three of us – N, A and I, we get to be together – for better, for worse, we are together. Day in, day out, I’m right in the middle of this beautiful mess that’s my life right now. It has been such a journey for me. I knew it would be hard. I didn’t know that it would be the most trying, amazing time of my life. I didn’t know that I could feel so much, so much of the time. I didn’t know how I’d be pushed to the brink of madness. I didn’t know how much I’d learn about myself. I’d never prayed about my own character before. Now, there are days when I hit my knees and pray for more patience, for more strength, for more kindness … for more of myself to give. I didn’t know that I’d be striped raw. Exposed. The good, the bad and the ugly. I didn’t know that it was possible to have so many different moments and emotions in a single day. Some days, I swear, consist of multiple lifetimes, all wrapped up in a single day. I can go from having a moving, loving moment with my boy to losing my mind in mere seconds. We can go from happy, crafting, baking, “look how together I am” moments to hiding in the bathroom so maybe I can be alone for one single friggin second … but no, here comes N and he wants to sit on my lap WHILE I PEE. Yep. It’s messy. It’s beautiful. It’s mine. We are marching on through these moments in time. Making it ours. Making it count. I’m carrying on with you, Warriors!
This essay and I are part of the Messy, Beautiful Warrior Project — To learn more and join us, CLICK HERE! And to learn about the New York Times Bestselling Memoir Carry On Warrior: The Power of Embracing Your Messy, Beautiful Life, just released in paperback, CLICK HERE!