On the days when my arms are full but my heart is not, I try to remember why.
When everyone needs something right now, and I just don’t feel like I have anything left in me to give, I try to remember.
When they’ve already eaten lunch and are asking for snacks but I haven’t even started my breakfast, I force myself to remember.
It won’t always be like this.
I don’t try and convince myself to enjoy the hard days because someday I will miss them (I will never miss cracked nipples or the feeling of warm vomit running down my shirt, legs, and filling my shoes- no matter how far away from me my children move).
I don’t tell myself this is a blessing and how lucky I am to have two writhing, screaming, kids covered in all manner of mess, when there are others out there who want them so desperately and can’t have them (because nobody’s daydream highlight reel consists of these moments).
When there is blood and tears and even more mess I don’t say, “Well, at least this isn’t teen sex and drugs and underage drinking.” Mainly because I don’t even have room in my brain for that right now.
Instead I tell myself to stop. To stop crying, stop imagining, and stop stressing out about the one million things that are going wrong and find at least one thing that’s going right. I don’t have to focus in on it. I don’t have to hold onto it with gritted teeth and make it turn my entire day around.
Because sometimes it can’t, and that’s okay.
I just have to remind myself that it’s not all bad. There is this one thing that’s good and perfect. Even if it’s only a moment where everyone is happy at the same time, or a single smile, this is our thing and it’s good and pure and proof that this isn’t always hard.
Sometimes my arms feel full and my heart does not. Sometimes I wish I was alone in the silence, even if only for a second, instead of weighed down by the heft of these people that need me so much. Sometimes I feel guilty for feeling these things.
Sometimes I want to scream.
But it always passes.
And I find that thing to focus on.
The face my toddler makes when she pretends to sleep. The happy growl of my baby when she has found something new to play with. The moments when the two of them laugh together, and now I can’t even remember what I was so busy doing in the first place because this is the moment I’ve waited my entire life for. This is it, this is perfection. This is the balance.
I think of those things and I remember that the bad days end. Someday my arms will be empty and my heart will be full- full of longing and loneliness, and the weight of the these babies that I carried in my arms for so long won’t seem like it was that heavy after all.
At its very best and at it’s very worst motherhood is a journey. Some days you wish for this leg of the trip to be over, to speed up, to be done with the small frail baby stage where it feels like you can never give enough. Then other times you wish for just a little more time on this road. Let us meander a while, take it all in, and please don’t ever let her stop believing in the healing power of a kiss on a boo boo.
It won’t always be like this. It will be worse than this and it will be better than this. But this moment right here, is fleeting.
I love being a mother so much, but some days it does blow a hole in me. It tears me down and lifts me up and moves me in so many different directions that it’s hard to catch my breath.
When my arms feel full, but my heart does not, I just have to remind myself that it’s just temporary.
And that is truly the worse part. This journey, this path, the crying and the kisses, they are all just temporary. This part right here that feels like a lifetime is only a moment, the good and the bad.
And although I can’t always feel it, I know that my heart is full, even if it just seems like the weight in my arms is heavier.