From the moment the once enticing fragrances of coffee brewing or burgers grilling sends you running to the toilet to hurl your cookies, motherhood challenges you. Suddenly eating saltines before you rise is a prerequisite and laying in a sea of cracker crumbs becomes a way of life. Your boobies start hurting, the scale takes an unprecedented leap and veins pop up like roadmaps in your legs. But nine months later after nine agonizing hours of labor and an emergency C-section, there she is. All pink and wide-eyed and fragile as a baby bird looking up at you as if to say, “I hope you know what you’re doing.”
Fact is, you don’t. And it’s a little scary at first. Should I lay her on her back or her side or stomach – do I have too many covers on her – is she hungry or thirsty – did I eat today – is she hot or is she cold – why is she screaming – is she wet or dry – did she poop AGAIN – how does this diaper work – when do I get to take my shower? Ah, where is Dr. Spock when you need him? But somehow you manage when intuition kicks in. Suddenly you know what to do, and the baby flashes that toothless grin at your melting heart as if to say, “Way to go, Mom. Good job!”
Infancy flashes by in a wink of an eye. Before you know it, they are two years old and running away from you with their ponytails flapping in the breeze. A petulant “NO” becomes the only word in their vocabulary. You’re thinner than you’ve ever been in your life for all the chasing you do. But then they go off to kindergarten and you get to sit down once in awhile…until the second one comes along…then it’s no holds barred.
Now they’re in school and you’re working and driving them to dancing lessons, soccer and lacrosse games, cheerleading and birthday parties and life is screaming by at the speed of light. The house is a mess and laundry never gets done because by the time you return home you fall into bed and crash to sleep. Grade school, middle school and high school are all whizzing by and you’re tired and wish you had a life of your own.
Then you take them to college and squeeze them so tightly they can’t breathe and tears are pouring from your eyes, and you can’t stop them. They graduate, they get careers and they’re off on their own, and you sit with that life of your own you wanted so badly where you can do anything you want, and now you can’t remember why or what that actually is.
You want to go back and hold that little baby one more time and read her “I Was So Mad” or “Goodnight Moon” as you sit together in the rocking chair. You want to watch Sesame Street with them and color and play Barbies and have a tea party or a lemonade stand where they sell cheese doodles and fruit punch. But that time is gone – in a wink of an eye.
Motherhood – it’s exhausting and amazing and the best thing you’ll ever do with your life…that is until Grandmotherhood comes along.