I don't particularly like it when anyone yells at me, but when a three-year-old screams at me because her Ramen Noodles are too long to fit into her mouth in one bite, or because I can't figure out what "muh" means it makes me want to punch a wall. I don't know if she's tired, if she's "just three," or if it's just my sugar and Coke withdrawal combined with PMS, but I swore a handful of times today I was going to throw Maren out the window.
This afternoon Henry was sitting at the dining room table doing his homework. I sat down with him and opened the mail to take a breather from Maren. There was an envelope from the church headquarters. It took me a second but then I remembered I had requested a copy of my patriarchal blessing a few weeks previous. About half way through I read, "...I promise that there will be children to love and care for. You will find this one of the greatest joys of your life."
I've been thinking about this throughout the evening and I just can't get it out of my mind. Motherhood has been kind of a struggle for me. I remember bringing Henry home from the hospital after he was born. Randy left me in the hospital room with Henry so he could pull the car around. As soon as he left I burst into tears. My life had completely changed and I was absolutely terrified. I’m sure the nurse thought I was a complete freak, but she just smiled and patted the seat of the wheelchair, telling me to sit down. I remember people staring at me the whole may down to the car. I’m sure they were thinking my baby must be retarded, or that I was a teenage mom, or maybe that I was a teenage mom and my baby was retarded. Anyway, the crying proceeded until a little while after we got home.
Raising kids is still terrifying to me. There have been a few times when I’ve even said to myself, “This is a mistake. I was not made for this,” and then it’s like I can see Satan looking over my shoulder laughing at me—like he’s won. (Weird, I know.) But really, for every moment that I want to pull my hair out, there are moments when I really love being a mom. It’s those moments that make all the hell that comes with being a mom worth it.
Maybe about a month after Randy and I brought Maren home from the hospital we heard her laugh for the first time. Randy and Henry we doing a puppet show for Maren—The Three Little Pigs. Henry was the wolf and when he got to the “huffing and puffing” part Maren laughed. Not just a smile and snort, it was a full-on laugh. It was priceless. I swear I would have relived every second of that horrible year leading up that moment just to see that first laugh.
I can’t remember if I’ve written down this experience, but one afternoon I was sitting on the bed with Henry, reading him a story. I think he was two years old. When I finished reading I grabbed him and tickled him for a minute. We stopped to catch our breath and ended up lying down on the bed facing each other. We just sat there, breathing deeply in and out, looking at each other in the eyes for probably like 30 seconds, although it seemed like forever. As I sat there looking at Henry I felt like I went from looking at the “physical” Henry to looking at his spirit. It’s hard to put it into words, but I felt a bond with him that I had never felt before. For a second I felt we were more like brother and sister or very close friends, than mother and son. Yes, it was freaky, but at the same time one of the neatest experiences I can remember.
So yeah, being a mom sucks hard sometimes, but I guess it only makes sense the things that bring us the most stress and heartache would bring us the most joy. When I sit back and look at the overall picture, yes— I think it’s fair to say that “I find this one of the greatest joys of my life.”
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