Today was my oldest’s 4th birthday. 4 years as a mom. 4 years of loving someone more than I could ever imagine loving someone. I remember the first night home with him and being more scared than I have ever been in my life. My body was so tired, my mind was so tired, I wondered if I’d ever sleep again out of the fear that if I blinked something would happen. I knew exactly what people meant that having a child felt like your heart is outside your body. I felt so exposed and my mind raced all night as I struggled to stay awake to watch his little chest rise and fall, assurance that he was okay. I laid awake thinking okay this is just what I’ll do for the rest of my life, watch him sleep. Eventually, of course, exhaustion wins out and you sleep. But never the deep, wake up whenever you’re refreshed sleep. That doesn’t exist anymore that day you become a mom. You are always listening, always waiting for the cry in the night ‘mama maaaammmaaa.’ Usually you wake about 5 seconds before that call comes. Your mama sense knows they need you before they even do.
As a mom I’ve noticed that nothing can hurt me personally anymore. Whatever sad or bad or hard thing that happens I worry only about how it effects my kids. If they are hurt or sad or disappointed I am that too. Three kids, three pieces of my raw and beating heart exposed. Being a mom is tiring. The late nights, the early mornings and all the wake ups in between are tiring, yes. Being in the trenches sometimes not having a second to breathe or notice yes you did forget a bra today, is tiring. But it’s holding the well being of these tiny little souls’ in your heart that really causes the exhaustion.
As I laid my new 4 year old down to sleep tonight after an epic ‘I should have put him to bed two hours prior’ tantrum. I kissed him and whispered to him to not be sad, that he was just tired, he would feel better in the morning. I reminded him of all the birthday fun and how I wished that he was happy. Happy because as a mom that is the greatest hope we can have that our babies and the pieces of our heart they carry, are happy.