There is so much emotion in motherhood that I never expected. This little boy can bring me utter joy and intense frustration- often both within the same hour. His personality is blossoming before us. He is stubborn and passionate, and sensitive to those around him. He knows what he wants and does not let go of ideas or objects easily. He tests, watching for reactions, pressing the boundaries. He loves laughter, and expresses so much inner turmoil when he can't communicate what he wants. His attention span frequently amazes me. He is ever changing- moving from perfect calm to full-on tantrum in moments. He knows when I am sad, and wants to comfort me. He does comfort me. He is smart and spirited. He has brought a million laughs into my life, but a few tears as well.
Motherhood forces a woman to have her heart on her sleeve, so to speak.
You make yourself emotionally available to your child, and therefore you are open. And so you feel everything, more. The frustration of growing pains, the joy and excitement, and then there is the inexplicable aching. You watch them growing more each day, and it is so wonderful, and yet it aches. I shed tears the morning of Seth's first birthday. I watch him becoming less dependent on me, and I am happy, and yet it aches.
I think the aching is from wanting to protect, forever, this baby of yours, and yet knowing that you can't always. I will be less and less able to protect him with each passing month, as he grows.
Motherhood is a series of letting go.
We let go when we give birth, and with each stage afterward we let go a little bit more, until they're grown.
At least we're weaned into it, rather than the baby in your arms suddenly going off to college the next day. Though I can see the truth in the words of a hundred seasoned mother I've talked to-- it feels that way nonetheless.
Letting go is hard, especially when your heart is on your sleeve, rather than safely guarded and locked up. With our children, there is not the defense mechanism we might have with other people, to protect our hearts.
So the letting go aches us very deeply. We do it because we must allow our little ones to fly, because we love them too much not to. And we are at once joyful and aching each time we let go some more. It is the nature of this role. And I think it makes us stronger, and it gives us wisdom, and it adds richness and depth and life to our lives overall.
Because life, without both the joy and the pain felt deeply, would not really be life at all.