There are certain moments in motherhood that simply defy description. It’s hard for someone to understand the unbelievable frustration of temper tantrums or the exhaustion of being up all night with a newborn unless you’ve experienced it firsthand. That’s why we moms have that knowing “mom look” when we see someone else’s kids pitching an all-out fit in the grocery story. We tell that mom with our eyes, “Sister, I’ve been there; you’re gonna be okay. Just make it until naptime. You can do it.”
It’s also hard, though, to put into words those magical moments, the ones that you hold onto physically for a few seconds but which you’ll hold onto in your heart for a lifetime. That’s the reason I started writing, to make sure that I hold onto those moments forever. They are too precious to waste or to be taken for granted.
Yesterday was a magical moment. My boy has been sick with a terrible cold, fever and ear infection. He was feeling too badly to do anything but not bad enough to sleep all day. I took him outside, but he didn’t feel well enough to play. I ended up sitting with him on the swing that hangs from our big oak tree. He nuzzled into my chest and fell asleep, and we stayed like that for an hour or so.
I listened to the chorus of sounds working in rhythm around me. Our old swing croaked a tired and slow uuuuggg-uuugggg as we moved back and forth, back and forth. The sun poked through the trees and slid over my face and off again. The leaves fell from the trees and landed with a whisper on the ground. My boy tightened his arms and legs into his chest so that he could be completely enveloped by me, his little blonde hairs tickling my chin as we moved. It was a small piece of heaven on this earth.
In moments like these, I remember what it is that is so magical about motherhood. It’s being the one. The one person that can provide comfort so a sick little person can sleep. No one else can provide it for him, but I can give it without even trying just because I am his mother. My arms wrapped around him offer a simple peace that he can’t find anywhere else, the innate understanding that he will be okay because I will always take care of him. My warm embrace is his sanctuary where he can drift momentarily into his dreams.
It is a beautiful and holy gift to be someone else’s sanctuary. So even though these magical moments happen far less often than the temper tantrums and the messes to be cleaned, they make it all worthwhile.