When You Give a Mom a Hug

Ten years ago today I was a new SAHM, nine weeks pregnant with my first baby, Jack. I have no idea what I did on Oct. 18, 2007. Probably went to the fair. Wrote a blog post. Cooked baked spaghetti. All of the “firsts” of pregnancy and early motherhood were ahead. It was exhilarating. And terrifying. Especially the giving birth part. (And yeh, birth hurts. If another woman ever tells me it doesn’t and it’s just pressure, four natural births provide me the confidence to argue. Laugh outright even.) The future was a blank slate. All I knew was that we wanted to have four children – boy girl boy girl. Not sure how we were gifted that wish.

Now I’m sitting here with my last precious girl, age 3, asleep in her blue monkey covered footie jammies, sprawled on my chest. And I’m watching all of the “lasts” of early motherhood dissolve day by day.

I think of Andrea Yates and Susan Smith and the pregnant mom who drove her mini van into Daytona Beach and other mothers who crack wide open and fall apart at the seams, committing horrific acts. And I get their breakdowns. I get the darkness that lies dormant when the days are never ending and the nights unyielding. When you haven’t showered in 38.3 days and the laundry pile is old enough to drive. The sudden wish to run away from such depth of responsibility and find somewhere….to just breathe. And then the guilt that encases us for letting such thoughts creep.

Our 5 year old crawls in the bed with us at night. But our 9 and 7 year old stopped a long time ago. When did they stop? I didn’t even take note. It just happened. So we welcome our 5 year old with open arms. At 3 am. Because we understand now that his time too is limited.

I stop and give Juli piggy back rides every time she asks for one now. Because somehow in the past couple years I gave Jack his very last piggy back ride and didn’t take note. He’s almost as tall as I am now.

Time in any adventure is limited.
So so limited.

Mama friends still in the trenches, please know it gets better. I am breathing again. You will too.

And everyone else, if you can, go hug a mom today.
She needs it.