In the dim morning light of a cold morning, the two sweetest little boys in the world quietly climbed into my bed as I was waking up, snuggling up on either side of me, patting my cheeks and pulling my arms around them as Oliver said "Mommy, I love you SO much" and Silas sang me the song he sings me several times a day "Mom, I love you so, so much. I will never stop loving you."
This is the stuff joyful motherhood is made of.
I held those little boys close and told them how grateful I am that I get to be their mom. I felt their course hair against my cheeks and their strong little hands grasping my hands. We were silent a minute together and my heart was full and ready to burst.
Motherhood is a lot of hard stuff. And some days (like day before yesterday) involve one crazy and frustrating thing after another as mutually exclusive needs of all the kids and the mom and the dad pile upon each other.
But motherhood is also a lot of good stuff. And some golden moments count way more than all the hard stuff.
At our last Learning Circle meeting where we talked about what we love about motherhood, we left with the assignment to make a list of the top ten things we love about motherhood. It's been interesting and wonderful to see everyone's lists (we're emailing our lists to the whole group). I put off making my own list - there always seemed to be something more pressing to do. But I finally got it done and it was a great exercise that helped me see things in a different light.
Here's my top 10 list of what I love about motherhood right now.
- Knowing I really matter to 5 wonderful little people who each show their love for me in different ways. Getting hugs and "I love you's" every day. Having Silas sing me the "I love you" song he made up about 12 times a day (even though his siblings get bugged with him for singing it so much). Having Eliza tell me I'm the best mom ever when I tuck her in. Having Oliver tell me how much he missed me when I see him after school. Having Isaac lean his head on my shoulder and snuggle up to me in church or while we watch a movie. Having Ashton tell me stuff he's excited about and show me how to do things on the computer.
- Telling stories and watching my kids' great facial expressions of awe or excitement or empathy as the story unfolds.
- Learning things together - reading books, visiting new places, looking up answers to questions we have on Wikipedia or YouTube and getting sucked into learning about everything from how baby carrots are made to what a "concentration camp" was to what make lightbulbs work.
- Tucking them in before I go to bed each night - seeing them sleeping all skeewampus but still looking like angels, straightening them out a bit and tucking them under the covers, kissing their soft cheeks.
- Watching them be kind to others (especially great when they're being kind to each other).
- Snuggling with the kids on family movie night every week.
- Holding my babies in my arms for the first time was always a huge highlight - and snuggling them now, remembering how small they used to be, makes me smile and feel the wonder of bearing children and seeing them grow.
- Making food we all love and enjoying great food together - seeing them so excited about the food I make.
- Helping my kids do something new and hard and seeing them figure it out and get excited about it - or seeing them master a new skill on their own and sharing in their joy about it.
- Enjoying the wonder and excitement of the world with kids who are experts in wonder and excitement. Exploring new places together with my kids - hiking, biking, visiting new cities. I love sharing adventures with my kids and getting excited about things together.