Friday, October 15, 2010
About 128 Pounds of Heart
It occurred to me today that about 128 pounds of my heart live outside of my body. No wonder I have been heavy-hearted this week!
With Lily around 56 pounds, Max at 46 and Colby at nearly 26, I live my life, truly, with 128 pounds of vulnerability outside my body. As vital to me as my own beating heart, my kids are subjected to a world that doesn't always love them, protect them or care about them. I leave them in the care of others, in the uncertainty of a school day and under the expertise of medical professionals when they are sick and at their weakest. As a mother, I have to trust that all will be well, that no major catastrophe will ever strike these precious, irreplaceable little people whom I love and adore so much that it hurts.
It's almost too much to ask of a parent! But it's reality. So we watch them grow. We take the baby steps with them, hold their hands to the bus stop, we let them form their own friendships, opinions and views of the world. And I know it will get harder as parents of older children have told me: the problems get bigger and involve more people. You watch them miss the most important basket of the game, you see them snubbed by the popular kids, feel their hearts break with the loss of first loves. You hand them the car keys when your heart screams "No!" You watch them marry mates you wouldn't have chosen for them, see them deal with bigger problems than you ever dreamed they would have to face.
I really don't know how we mothers do it, but we do. We strive to give our children the strong base of a good beginning, moral beliefs and unconditional love. And through it, they grow their wings. We learn our boundaries and our limits, the ways in which we might influence them and the ways in which we have to accept their actions and feelings.
Motherhood is not for the faint of heart.
And so, I put one foot in front of the other. I stir the chocolate milk, soothe the crying baby, wipe the running nose. I pray and trust and dream and hope that I can make these years count in the ways they will need to count for the rest of my children's lives. I remember this isn't about me; this isn't my show, it's theirs. While I will recognize and feed the need to make time for myself and to recharge in the ways that I must, I refuse to be a product of the me, myself and I mentality that dominates so much of what I hear these days.
Because these days are precious. They are good and true and all that is right in the world. As my heart continues to grow and dream and spread into the world, I accept the reality of the lows and the highs, the hows and the whys.
This is motherhood, and it's a privilege.