Last Tuesday, I woke up on the floor. I was in between the rooms I had put the twins down for naps.
James had been struggling to sleep for a few nights in a row. He had been struggling with nap time. He’d been sick and his little body had been fighting something off. A fever had lasted 24 hours.
John is going through the mental leap where a baby begins understanding distance. This is also the time babies typically get separation anxiety. Anytime Jimmy or I walk away, John will sob until we come back to him. During the day, Jimmy isn’t there to help pick him up. So it’s my lap he crawls to and my feet he cries next to and my heart he breaks when duty calls and I must clean bottles or make lunch or tend to brother.
I’ve been needed. My lap has been the highly sought after place to rest, to lay, to sit and to play. One is sick and seeking comfort. The other is realizing mommy and daddy can walk away. He’s seeking reassurance.
Being needed is beautiful. I want to be needed. In fact, each time the twins accomplish something new, they need me a little less. And that’s heart shattering.
But being needed does come with a price. Sometimes it’s my sanity, my patience, my sleep, my “me-time,” my own health.
Being needed means sometimes I forget about Megan. I forget that she needs things, too. I forget that I should take a nap when I happen to get the boys napping at the same time instead of doing just one more load of laundry or cleaning just one more dish. I should fix myself something to eat when I make the boys something to eat. For the love of all that is holy, I need to drink a glass of water instead of filling up another cup of coffee.
But like Tuesday, sometimes life (or your own body) gives you no choice but to fulfill a need.
I waited between the rooms the boys nap in, and I waited to hear a cry. I waited to swoop in and cuddle whatever little boy needed it.
But in the waiting, my body stole this moment for itself. I sat on the ground, then I laid down, and then I gave up and gave in to sleep. I rested. Thirty minutes of pure bliss.
Then when I heard John waking up all those minutes later, I sat up, I stretched, I brushed myself off and then I showed up for my son.
And that’s why we have Mother’s Day. We celebrate the showing up. Mentally, physically, emotionally showing up.
Because even when our bodies are tired and we’re running on empty, we’re showing up.
We show up for every meal (whether it’s made from scratch or bought from the store). For every dirty diaper, for every head that gets bonked for every cry that rings out…we show up.
Every runny nose. Every cry in the wee hours of the night. Every new food that is tried and every milestone that’s reached, we show up with camera in hand.
And even, do I dare say it, when we don’t want to. Or when we feel like we have nothing else to give. We show up.
Even when we, say, cry in the bathroom/shower/pantry/closet/behind the couch, we wipe our eyes and we show up for our littles.
We show up for them with everything we’ve got because we love them with everything we’ve got.
It wasn’t until I became a mother that I truly appreciated my own mother entirely. Because motherhood, man? It’s hard. It it asks for everything you’ve got…and then a little more.
It’s draining, it’s life-giving, it’s challenging, it’s thrilling, it’s confusing, it’s smile-inducing, it’s learning, it’s pride-giving, it’s a loss of freedom, it’s a new adventure, it’s the hardest thing and the most natural thing.
It’s living everyday caring for and nurturing and loving the two little symbols of your whole heart outside of your body.
Thank you, to every mama in every form out there, for showing up. For being your baby’s constant. For giving it all you’ve got when there’s nothing left to give. They may not see it now, or in three years, or ten years…but the day will come when that little one has a little one. They will experience your same sacrifices and give with all they’ve got. And their eyes will be opened and heart will grow thankful for their own mother, their own constant, who sacrificed and showed up for them.