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From the day a baby is born, taking care of that child is more than a full-time job. A mother becomes a superhero. She has to be a full-time caretaker, housekeeper, and sometimes breadwinner. Add another kid or two (or five) and that task may seem insurmountable. Still, we do it. We push ourselves past boundaries we never knew were supposed to be there. It becomes second nature. Sometimes I change my six month old’s clothes faster than my husband can see me do it (one of my superpowers). I hear a lot of, “How did you…” Sometimes I stay up all night trying to catch up on jobs that I know will never be truly finished. There is no end game here.
When I hold my baby, it is the most amazing feeling. My mind floods with memories of nearly two decades worth of babies that I have held in my arms. For my husband, that feeling is brand new and special in its own way. For me, it is both familiar and nostalgic, as well as, fresh and new. Her love is both like and unlike all of the loves that I have felt before. No baby is exactly the same, and she is no different. Her likes and dislikes are different than her many siblings, and I love getting to know her.
I see the sparkle in my husband’s eyes, and I know that he has a special bond with our little girl, but I’m not a dad. I am a mom, so that is the only perspective that I can not only observe, but experience. Being a mother is a promise to that little girl that I will never break. For as long as I live, my heart is hers.
Even at nearly 17, my heart belongs to the oldest of my daughters as well. Right now, it is shattering into a million pieces, because teenage girls do that to a mother. They don’t mean to, but it happens. They say and do things that they would never say or do to another human being, and mothers absorb their blows, because no one else can. It hurts. In fact, it hurts more than anyone else could possibly hurt you. No person could hurt you as much as your own child because there is no comparable love that a mother has for her child. We like to tease our children that it hurt so much to give birth to them, but really, that is only the beginning.
We give them life, and try to teach them well. We give them more than we ever knew we had to give, and we are much better human beings for it. I love being a mother, no many how many times my heart shatters. When I think about my teenage daughter and the rough times we are going through, I fall to pieces, yet when I look at my sweet little baby, I feel healed again. It is a cycle, and all time it happening at once. I see entire lifetimes in their eyes, and even though there will be times when they don’t think I am doing my job well, I know no one could do it better, because no one loves them more.