No one told me that the best parts of motherhood are found in the most ordinary moments. And that it’s the ordinary moments that I miss most as the seasons change and so do my kids.
It’s been another humdrum week around here. A week that didn’t include fun plans or extraordinary experiences. There’s been the usual whining and crying and neediness. There’s been the cooking and cleaning and laundry. There’s been sickness and sleeplessness. There’s been the errands and the typical tasks of parenting.
But in the middle of those ordinary tasks have been the best parts of the week. The best parts of motherhood actually. The parts that I hadn’t even realized I was missing, until I took a minute to look. To feel. To comprehend.
There was the moment in a parking lot when I grabbed my daughter’s hand to lead her out of the way of what appeared to be an erratic driver. As we walked hand in hand, I couldn’t remember the last time we had done so. She’s only 6, but she’s my easy child. The one who has never run wild in a parking lot. The one who has always stayed by my side, even when she was a toddler. I haven’t felt the need to hold her hand in a parking lot in at least a year or two, maybe more.
And I didn’t even know how much I had missed it. As her hand slipped into mine, we were connected. And I felt it. That connection between mother and daughter. Love. Contentment. My whole world right there in the palm of my hand.
It was a reminder that she was still a little girl, still my little girl. And that something as simple as holding hands might actually be all we really need to survive in this world.
And then there was the morning when my son insisted on being held for hours on end. His arms repeatedly rising high to signal that he wanted “up.” His arms that have finally come out of hiding from behind the long sleeves of winter. His arms that are so enticingly chubby that I couldn’t resist squeezing them as I responded to their desperate call for affection.
And I have missed those bare arms without even realizing it. Those fat, squishy arms that have been hidden underneath layers of fleece. Those smooth arms that are a delight to my fingertips. Those arms that have a language of their own, a language that might just be the sweetest thing about a toddler.
And then there was the moment in which I was called over to assist in cutting cardboard. A moment in which my daughter exclaimed “Wow! You’re so good at that!” as I forced a pair of dull scissors to slice through it. She thought I was amazing for no other reason than my ability to butcher a cardboard box and I’ll admit that her enthusiasm for my skill brought cheer to my weary heart.
And I wondered how many of her compliments I have missed over the years by focusing too much on the responsibilities of adulthood.
So this week with my kids has been nothing more than normal. It’s been dull by the world’s standards. There have been no dream vacations, no holidays to celebrate, no fun-filled outings. And yet, I experienced some of the best moments of my life.