Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Mom

I still remember my mother’s 33rd birthday. Not well, of course. I was six years old. But I remember a scene dimly lit with cake and candles. I remember Mom moving around the room. She was so tall in my world back then. And I remember wondering at those thirty-three years. Parents had lived such a tremendous amount of time.

In the selfishness of childhood, I never considered what happened to my mother when she became a mother. I never considered her youth as much more than a prequel to her life with me. In her stories of our births and babyhood, her children always played the starring role.

I didn’t yet know the length of nine months. But I know now.

I know now what it’s like to learn I would become a mother, and I’ve watched my husband’s eyes widen as I broke the news. I know what it’s like to notice that first swimming inside, to lie on a cool slab at the doctor’s office and watch two impossibly tiny feet on a television screen. I’ve felt my own life and my own belly inch farther and farther to the end of my reach. And I’ve waited through those final quiet days, hopeful and fearful for my time to come.

I know other things now, too.

I know that my body is no longer my own. I know this because now I’ve held my baby to my breast. I’ve cried with her when she couldn’t eat, and I’ve felt the whole world fall into place when she could. I’ve felt her scream as though the sound came from my lungs. I’ve looked into her eyes, and I’ve seen my eyes.

There was a time when I kept my heart neatly in my chest. When I didn’t say certain things because I worried they might sound cheesy or cliche. When I didn’t write things down for fear they would look too used on the page. But moms don’t have that luxury. They’re better off silly than stoic. They babytalk in ridiculous voices. They sometimes need pants with elastic waistbands. They’ve been caught drawing hearts in peanut-butter sandwiches. They talk about how great it is to be a mother.

And that’s the thing I know now most of all.

It really is great to be a mom.

9 Comments:

Blogger McKell Schreiner said...

My heart drops every time I see that you've blogged. This post was no exception in your incredible writing, but most of all you are a tremendous mother. Perhaps I need to stop by and hold your little day again.

6:38 PM  
Blogger Christina Updike said...

Beautiful beautiful post! It is incomprehensible how much love mothers have for their sweet little ones. It is definitely hard - but I would not trade it for anything! Day is absolutely beautiful . . . just like her momma!

8:20 AM  
Blogger Marilyn said...

I love this, Melissa! I, too, get excited every time I see you've posted. I need to see that sweet baby Day again! Maybe we can plan on outing to the park on one of these warm days?

Also: important news. Sam and I watched "Turn Around: a retelling of the Alma the Younger Story" and the screenwriter was Brittany Wiscomb! Did you know this? We were elated, and it did not disappoint. There is also a less-Mormon version of it which I am intrigued to see--how did they cut out the references to Mutual, etc? That one is called "Overcome". Anyway, a movie night is in order. We want to hear the group commentary!

9:18 AM  
Blogger Marilyn said...

*an* outing.

9:19 AM  
Blogger Tif said...

If you wrote a book I'd read it. I'm sure it would be my favorite book. I know you'll make a great mom!

3:53 PM  
Blogger Jami and Rob said...

I think I cry each time I read your posts. What an incredible talent you have for writing. Have you ever thought of collecting all of your thoughts and making a book of them? They're so touching. I know what you mean about each of those things. Every day I feel so absolutely blessed to hear that word, Mommy! and to feel those little arms around me and to hear those little feet running through the house. We are so blessed to be moms. I would love to meet your little Day. Let's get together.

8:17 PM  
Blogger melissa said...

right after reading this i turned to brad and said, "i just read one of the most beautiful posts i've ever read". melissa this was spot on, and so touching. i actually did get goosebumps. something that i don't normally get when reading something. thank you for your words, they're inspiring.

and about those shots....damn them. (i'm going to feel bad about that swear later, but for now...those shots are still too fresh in my mind to have anything other than sheer hate when i think of them)

5:19 PM  
Blogger SnowQueen said...

Wow, I am speechless. I do agree with all your friends in their encouragement of your writing. Haven't I always said this? Melissa thanks for this lovely post. I love you.

6:34 PM  
Blogger Kami said...

You are such a beautiful writer! My goodness Melissa! That was amazing to read!

7:26 AM  

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