I get to know them. I get to see them. I get to hear them. I get to feel them.
This is my mantra on the hard days.
When they are at their worst, I remember they are two of the best blessings I’ve been given. Despite the noise and attitude and endless messes—and my sometimes desperate plea to escape it all—they remain two of the best parts of my life.
In the midst of their screaming, I think of their smiles.
In the midst of their complaining, I think of their pleases and thank yous and how often I’ve been complimented about their displays of good manners—even if they tend to forget them when they’re around me.
In the midst of their bickering, I think of the moment the big sister saw her little brother for the first time, a look of wonder and delight emanating from her face.
In the midst of arguing with me, I think of their laughter, singing, and I-love-yous.
Or at least I try to.
Some days are bad—really bad, and yet somewhere in the mix is goodness; the gift of wholly knowing them.
I know the shade of their eyes.
I know the color and texture of their hair and whether they inherited my husband’s or mine.
I know their voices and their tender cries for “mama.”
I know the feel of their skin against mine, their arms around my neck.
I know the sound of their laughter and the jokes and tickle spots that launch them into fits of it.
I know what makes them smile, cry, fight, slam doors, and stomp to their bedroooms.
I know their likes and dislikes, their best traits and their worst.
And I cannot say that for every child who has called my womb home.
When they’re acting awful, I try to recall the awe I felt when they entered the world and were placed in my arms. I try to remember those first moments when the current moment makes me wish I were anywhere but here.
Because even at their worst, they’ve made my life better.
And I’m so glad I get to know them, see them, feel them—and hear them call me mama.