Because the birth of Jesus was not
A quiet thing, but rather
To be fully man means to come into the world as men do.
He wasn’t clean and bright and shiny but instead wet and misshapen and hungry.
The world was foreign and terrifying to him; his mother was only just beginning to understand the implications of his birth.
The manger was not fresh straw and clean blanket.
The manger was dirt and animal saliva and cold.
To the relief of the mother, everything went as it should (or so we think).
And when she held him in that first moment
All she could think of
Was how grateful she was for that ordeal to be over
And how beautiful her son was.
Being a mother brings out the best and the worst in me.
Sometimes all I want is to cuddle with my son.
Sometimes I just want to hide in the bathroom and lock the door just to be alone and untouched for once.
Sometime I am hyper-vigilant in watching him, to the point that I can catch him before he starts to fall.
Sometimes I look away too long and he falls hard.
Sometimes he is so clean and shiny and he smells wonderful.
Sometimes I can’t remember his last bath.
Sometimes I will read him books over and over again for hours on end.
Sometimes I just hand him books to play with so I can do something else.
Time spent being a mother is time spent tearing yourself in half between selfishness and selflessness. You feel like your identity is in your child and feel lost when you don’t have them near to hold. You want to do everything “right” and never fail. You don’t want others to see your mistakes for fear that they view you as bad at mothering. You will never please everyone, least of all your own self.
Sometimes you pour all your love into one defenseless, little person.
Sometimes you cry.
But that’s motherhood.
While I look at my child as he crawls and climbs and falls, it occurs to me that I was once a child like this.
I look back at my childhood dreams and teenage stupidities and wonder what sort of dreams and stupidities my baby will have as he ages.
I made life so hard for my parents. I hated them at some points, even. The worse thing my child does to me is try to run away as I change his diaper. He may have a day where he hates me. It may last longer than a day and it seems so hard to believe.
Motherhood is hard. Parenthood is hard. My husband just had to do compressions on a man who committed suicide. His own mother was the one that found him, and that scares me.
I guess all I can really do is teach my child to love and to value the fragility of life. As his mother, I want to protect him and keep him in a perfectly safe bubble, but this will make him value so little. He needs to experience the harshness of life to understand the beauty of it.
But I am afraid. I cannot help it. Forgive me.
I have so many dreams, not just the kind in which I am flying or people are dying around me and I’m just sitting there, eating bananas. I also have those dreams in which I am doing something great in the future, or something in the future, whether by your definition of great or by mine. I want to get married and have a lot children and be a cookie baker of a mother. I want to travel the world but have a home base where I can return to and know that I have security in a foundation. I want to be wise, and know people. I want to be able to look into somebody’s eyes and realize they have the weight of the world on their shoulders, and I want to be able to help them. I want people to need me for what I have to offer. I want to grow old. I want to have grandchildren and great-grandchildren all looking up to me and coming over to my house to be spoiled. I don’t want to be anything typical, I want to create a new example of typical, and when I die, people can say, “Yes, she was a daughter, she was a mother, she was a grandmother. But that is not all she was. She was the warmth of the flame, the lamp in the dark, and the smell of the sea.”