July 22, 2014

The Middle

 "It is good to have an end to journey toward; but it is the journey that matters, in the end." 

School starts soon. In just a few weeks, I will be back in college for what seems like the hundredth time. Three classes this semester, three the next, and I'll earn my associate- if, and it is a very big if- I can pass all my classes, which are mostly math. Still, it's so close that I'm beginning to get excited. I've put a lot of time and energy into chasing it, and now, the end is almost in sight.


And I think that's what I like about it. The beginning, the (long) middle, and the end. Wrapped up with a bow. Or a cap and gown. A handshake, a diploma, and a closed door on the work it took to get there.

**
Millie has been a challenge for me lately. I was tempted to write "a handful", but that is what you say in smalltalk to strangers, not friends. It's not the excess energy of a three year old that makes me laugh and shake my head at the end of the day. It's work. It's tears. It's frustration. It's things that neither of us understand. And it is so hard.


I run out of patience just about every day. And after another early bedtime, I tear up and ask myself why. Why am I not getting the hang of this mother thing yet, after nearly four years of practice? Why is everything I try failing? Why can't I figure this out? Why can't I do better?

And I'm beginning to realize that there will never be a leap across a finish line into the arms of cheering onlookers. This isn't a college degree with a notebook closed and a walk across the stage. It's not a recipe, adjusting spices by a half teaspoon until that first bite tastes perfect. Motherhood doesn't have an ending point. It's a day by day by sometimes grueling day. Some of those days will be heaven sent. Some of them will be a test of how many times I can take a breath and count to ten before I speak.

Maybe labor fooled me into thinking that the hard work would come, but it would be followed by an immediate reward. Instead, it's a million, tiny bits of happiness, interspersed by a million more prayers for help and guidance. I would give anything to earn the badge of "finally got this down", but I know it's unattainable. Because even when they are fifty, I won't be done being their mama. And thank goodness.


I like when I can be done, when something is complete, nice and tidy, and I can dust off my hands. But this is the middle, and it always will be.

Maybe motherhood will be like a good book, one that we go back to re-read certain paragraphs because they are magic. One that we begin to mourn when we've made it to the next chapter, to the final pages. One that collects wet tears on the last few sentences, because we want it to go on and on.

 I've got a lifetime of practice ahead of me, but thankfully, I still have some great paragraphs to re-read.

13 kind comments from you:

Jen said...

You are a fantastic mom..don't ever forget that!

Jamie said...

Youre doing great. The hard nights will get easier. Hang in there.

and then we laughed said...

You are doing a wonderful job. Motherhood is a journey that tests every fiber of our being. The moments I've felt most alive often involve motherhood. The extreme highs and the extreme lows remind us just how precious, sweet, frustrating, and invigorating life can be.

Kaylee said...

I have such similar thoughts on being a mama - these last few weeks have been rough. Add the cray-cray hormones into the toddler energy, and it's been a recipe for very interesting times around here. You are a fantastic mama, don't you forget that! I know moments and hours and days can be rough and tough, but I know that you love your babes, and that they know that - praying for you, dear friend!

ash schlax said...

yes.

Mrs.B said...

I feel ya. It's been rough around here lately and now that Em's going to try out public school kindergarten I feel even worse when I flip out on her, because in a few weeks she'll be in school and I know I'm going to miss her so much. I'm tearing up just writing that. Motherhood is hard.

Amanda said...

It isn't always a walk in the park, but it is so rewarding. I think you are doing a good job mama!

Fran said...

Son, you're a fantastic mom. Every. Single. Day. Don't forget that!

Jen said...

You are an amazing woman and mother. Your kids are adorable, funny, smart, and loved.

Chantal said...

Gosh I can relate to this so much. Some days are just HARD and then I think, it's never going to end. I'm ALWAYS going to be a mom...

beka said...

ohhh i love this.
love, love, love.

Karen said...

I can totally relate to this - I feel like Nora and I are in constant struggles lately. You are not alone. Also, I love that picture of Walter in the shopping cart - he is just too cute.

wanderlynn said...

Yes, dear. Yes, yes, I am there with you, sometimes suffocating under the extra 50 pounds that is hanging/climbing/clinging/pleading to or on me every seeming second of every single day.

We've moved into a house that seems so very big compared to what we're used to. There isn't even furniture to fill it yet. But when I most desperately need a break (particularly from 3 year old mania compounded by toddler frustration), my tiny people are in the one-square-foot of kitchen tile with me.

They're also there when life is feeling so, so good.

This motherhood business, it's hard. You're right that it never ends. It just changes. The challenges shift. We can never un-become Mother. Sometimes that's the hardest thing to know.

Good luck with school!

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