I’m not qualified to expand on this installment of 50 things that really matter, so let’s just call this a re-post.
50 things that really matter, of course, is the little book we received as a gift from JoAnn by Rodale Press for Hallmark. It’s a nugget of reflections about what really matters in life. Its pages are first person stories about the value of conversing over a good cup of coffee, the importance of hugs, the courage of living a simple life, the wisdom in a street musician’s words, the peace and relaxation in watching a candle flame … motherhood.
Like many first time moms, I’ve often felt unmotherlike — as if I’m somehow less than qualified to be in charge of a human life. I had expected to bond instantly with my newborn daughter and through that bond, mother her instinctively. Yet, just after Willa’s birth, when I searched her eyes for that connection, I saw nothing but my reflection.. The instincts I had anticipated were hidden somewhere deep within me.
A few storybook moments during Willa’s early babyhood inspired me to say, “Yes, this is it. I’m her mother.” Times like when I heard her first laugh, when I soothed her sobbing, when I finally got her to sleep through the night. Unfortunately, the good ones were outnumbered by other less-than-perfect instances — times I thought, “I’m not fit to be anyone’s mom.” Like when I carried four month old Willa out of the nursery on my shoulders, remembering too late the top of the doorjamb hung lower than the ceiling. Willa’s head hit it with a loud thud, and she unleashed one of those wails that starts out silent, then breaks your heart with its intertwined pain and panic.
Add to this Willa’s long-running “daddy phase” when only my husband seemed good enough for her and I have to say I struggled emotionally during our first year and a half as mother and daughter.
Then came the moment I felt a true bond for the first time, and with it that elusive mother instinct. We sat together on an antique train at a railway museum one early September day after Willa had turned 19 months old. She cemented into my lap as the locomotive began to chug along the tracks and stared wide-eyed at the passing scenery. Through her stillness, I could sense her fear and excitement as she absorbed the brand new experience. Her 25 pound body felt more like 100. To me, that heaviness expressed her absolute expectation that my lap would protect her as we embarked on this adventure. All of her eggs rested in my basket, as it were. It moved me to the core.
Of course, there’s no single experience that defines universal motherhood. For me, finally comprehending I am the unquestionable center of my daughter’s universe let me experience motherhood at its truest. I don’t need much more than that.
By Leah Flickinger, 50 things that really matter, Rodale Press for Hallmark
What about you? When did that magical moment sink in?
THOUGHT TO REMEMBER: Life is like a basketball . . . take a shot or dribble it away.