Extraordinary Things.

Motherhood is getting hit over the head with a plastic bin full of toys, because your child doesn’t know how to ask you to open it like a civilized person.

Motherhood is multiple, over-sized, unapologetic glasses of wine.

It’s earplugs, noise machines, and tiptoeing down the hall; it’s double shots of espresso ordered through a drive-thru because you haven’t had time to buy groceries this week and you are desperate for caffeine, SO STOP YOUR YAMMERING AND GIMME MY COFFEE.

Motherhood is self-sacrifice. Your heart and your mind, your body, your money, your energy and your breath. You pour it all out, everything you have, because you are a mother.

Motherhood is Vicks Vaporub, saline spray, and Kleenex bought in bulk. It’s the feeling of excitement when you see diapers on sale, the joy of finally throwing out an almost-7-year-old Diaper Genie, and the sheer anguish of potty training.

Potty training is a low point.

Motherhood is when you get news that makes your mouth go dry and your chest feel compressed, but you still have to go through the motions and be a mom anyway.

Motherhood can be a real bitch.

Motherhood is painful and uncomfortable from the very start. It is a bloaty, crampy, I’m-fat-and-my-heart-is-outside-of-my-body feeling that never ends. It’s overwhelming, always. It forces you to stretch in ways you never thought possible.

Motherhood makes you grow because you have to.

Motherhood is every joy and pain, the deepest love, the greatest source of hope. It brings us to our knees — in prayer, in suffering, in gratitude, in wonder — because it is worth every ounce of energy that we invest.

Motherhood is extraordinary, because all extraordinary things are hard.

And glorious.

But mostly hard.Joy(If you liked this post, then you should follow me on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter!)

Motherhood Can Be Jarring.

Tonight I got really sad all of a sudden because my children are getting SO big, SO fast, that it’s jarring. It takes a substantial amount of something to truly jar me. I stood in our darkened living room, watching my boys, and tears spilled onto my cheeks as I whispered to my husband, “Asher doesn’t need his blanket anymore.”

He used to need it.

I am jarred.

I know that a lot of mothers who are also writers seem to go on and on about the beauty and sadness that comes with seeing your children grow up. This post is just one among thousands like it. In fact, I wrote one almost exactly like this one, almost exactly one year ago, and it still makes me cry when I read it. (If you want to read it, click here.)

Except that, as I pulled my toddler into my lap tonight to rock and sing to her before I tucked her into bed, her legs dragged farther down than last week. And as I stroked her hair and talked to her softly, she talked to me back. She answered my questions, my mindless questions, the ones I apparently ask every night without thinking.

“Pepper, are you sleepy?”

“No. Pepper not sweepy.”

“Do you want to sing a song?”

“Yes! Sing a song! Siiiiiiiilent night, hoooooooly night … “

She used to be so tiny. Now she could climb out of her crib, if she wanted to. She climbed out of the bath tub today. I walked away for a minute, heard a THUMP, and there she was, dripping wet in the hallway.

“I get out?” she said.

Yep … you got out.” Bath time was over.

8-month-old Penelope. Back when she was tiny.

8-month-old Penelope. Back when she was tiny.

My oldest child is going to be taller than me one day. Much taller. I know this because he is 6 years old and the top of his head is boob-high already. He is all arms and legs.

He can read. I catch him peeking over my shoulder trying to catch a glimpse of what I’m working on.

He gets my jokes.

He used to scream unintelligibly when I asked him to put his pajamas on, and now he’s talking about the anatomy of bugs and asking me questions about space travel.

I used to know the answers to all of his questions.

I don’t anymore.

This photo was taken in 2012 when we announced that I was pregnant with baby #3!

This photo was taken in 2012 when we announced that I was pregnant with baby #3!

My middle child was so attached to his green blanket that he wore it to pieces and we had to replace it with a brown one. We fretted over how long he would drag it around.

Then, suddenly, he stopped. And I cried. I CRIED ABOUT MY CHILD GROWING OUT OF A HABIT THAT DROVE THE WHOLE FAMILY CRAZY.

When my babies were babies.

21-month-old Asher with his blanket and brand-new baby sister.

It’s so weird, this motherhood thing. The things that cause me pain can also bring me great joy, and the things that irritate the ever-loving shit out of me are also sorely missed when they stop.

I stepped over my children to make my way out of the living room tonight, wiping the tears from my cheeks. I stopped for a moment and leaned down to tell Asher goodnight. He smiled up at me, dimples cracking.

We whispered back and forth for a moment, saying our good-nights, and then he paused.

Mommy? Can you get me my blanket?

Yes.

Yes, I most certainly can.

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