Being a mother is giving your heart away forever
When I first told my mom two years ago that Joe and I were thinking of having children soon, she didn’t whip out piles of baby blankets she’d been secretly purchasing for “when the time came” or start talking about little baby feet. Instead, she got serious on me.
“I just have to tell you,” she said. “If you do this, you will never have your heart to yourself again.”
I’ll admit that I found it kind of an annoying reaction at the time. But I think I’m beginning to understand the truth of her words. Motherhood is putting our hearts in someone else’s body. This beautiful and natural bond is easy when our children are tiny and we can protect her from danger and rejection and hurtful choices. The extension of our heart is safe in the crook of our arms.
But what happens when your heart – that is, the one your child carries – grows up? Your heart is out and about in a body that you cannot control. My sweet Baby G will face failure, disappointment, rejection and goodbyes to loved ones, just like everyone else. Her heart may be broken a few times. She will probably make some choices that are hurtful to herself. I’m not so sure I’ll handle this with finesse.
This might be the hardest part of being a mom.
Yesterday, a mother I know saw her 23-year-old son for the first time in four years. During these years he cut her from his life, she worried and prayed and cried and worried some more. She didn’t know if he was lonely or happy or angry or lost. Occasionally, she would see him from a distance, walking down the street (they live in the same town) and she would take these moments as a gift and as a sign to pray.
I honestly can’t imagine anything more sad as a parent. But this mama never gave up. She prayed through her worry, her anger, her sadness and her fear.
And then out of the blue, he contacts her. So what does a mother do?
She makes him his favorite meal, of course. And she listens. She parts ways with him, promising him she loves him despite anything he has done or will do. She continues to pray. She continues to cry.
This is the heart of a mother. Your heart does not belong to yourself anymore. It is buried in the hearts of your children.
I know my heart is lost somewhere under Baby G’s squishy little fat rolls. When I think of all the bad things that could happen to her, all the mistakes she’ll make (and she will make them), I get a little nutty. So I pray, and I just take one day at a time. There will be a time years down the road when it’s past her curfew and she’s not answering her phone and I’ll be pacing the kitchen angry and worried sick.
But we’re not there yet! Today, I just have to feed and cuddle her, make silly faces, and make sure she doesn’t choke on the spare change that Joe leaves on the floor.
Today I also want to give shout outs to Lauren at “Sorry Mom, I didn’t listen” and Anna at “Journey to Domestic Bliss” for throwing Sunshine Awards my way, which is a nod to “bloggers who positively and creatively inspire others in the blogosphere,” according to their pages. Cool! I have loved interacting with these two bloggers as we muddle through motherhood together.
As a part of the nomination I’m supposed to answer all these random questions about myself and pass it on to other bloggers… But I think I’ll skip that part because those kinds of “fun” questionnaires make me anxious (I tend to overthink my answers). And I do plan to give nods to bloggers I enjoy but I’ll single them out from time to time rather than list them here.