Thursday, May 19, 2005

Worth it

Over at Feminist Mormon Housewives, Tess is not sure if she wants to give up her carefree, child-free life. I can't blame her for feeling a little gun-shy. We gripe a lot, we moms of young kids. And we have good reason. There's a lot to gripe about.

I spent a long time wanting to be a mom without really knowing why. We adopted our first son after 6 years of marriage. He was a demanding, fussy baby, going through withdrawals from his birthmom's nicotine habit. He was beautiful and we had a lot of fun and happy moments, but it was hard. I was mostly sustained by the euphoria of having achieved motherhood at last.

21 months later we adopted again. Our second baby was happy, easygoing and fun. But suddenly it hit me how exhausted I was, how much I had lost. It was like I suddenly looked up and realized I was in a dark tunnel. It took me another year, at least, to see the light at the end of it. Another year after that to get to the end of it, and another one to recover from the whole tunnel experience.

My kids are now almost 4 and almost 6.

As of two days ago, my kindergartner is officially reading. He read me "Green Eggs and Ham" in his early-reader, halting, sometimes-guessing, sometimes-sounding-out style. I asked him if he wanted to take a break and have me read a page. He shook his head and kept going. I would go through all the hell of infancy and toddlerhood again just to experience that heart-busting joy.

I would go through it all again for the ego boost created by a 4-year-old peeking around the corner of the playhouse at preschool, then running full-speed toward me to leap into my arms with the biggest hug his little muscles can muster.

Or the daily sweetness of a small, warm person creeping into my bed at 6 a.m. for snuggles before the day begins.

For a Mother's Day card covered with the letter A, the 4-year-old's main skill, over and over.

For a child who is almost as excited as I am that there's going to be a Narnia movie.

For watching a little brown body, naked on the green grass, playing in the water from the garden hose. Or, clothed, spending an hour digging in the dirt.

For a small-voiced prayer that I'll feel better when I'm down with strep, as I was this week.

Yep, I think it's worth it.


fMhLisa said...

Wow, you gave me chills and I'm starting to cry.

Ana said...

Aw, thank you, Lisa!

Tess said...

Hmm. This makes me wonder what OTHER people are thinking about my comments (when they aren't ignoring them, that is).

Thanks for the post. I wish more mothers shared their positive experiences and didn't complain so much, but I think we're all hard wired to complain instead of look on the bright side. Anyway, good luck with your kids! They sound great.

Tandy said...

Ana, your love for your kids just bursts through those words. I love that! While you are a talented writer, those words are heartfelt and full of joy. Thanks for sharing!

Stephen said...

Wonderful post, they are always worth it.

Ana said...

Thanks all of you for your kind words. It's so exciting to me that someone is reading!

Heather said...

Thank you for putting into words the things that I value most about motherhood. My husband and I aren't quite ready yet but it's something I look forward to and hope for with a fervor that my friends (most of whom are non-LDS) don't really understand. They shake their heads and smile knowingly, assuring me that I'll know what it's "really like" once I've had my own. But I'm not blind. I remember my childhood and what a trial my siblings and I could be to our mother. I see motherhood all around me at church and in my other friends. I know it's no easy task. But I also know it's worth it and you just put into words some of what I hold most dear to my heart.

Stephen said...

All my children have been worth it and posts like this help me feel why again.