As Mother’s Day approaches, I’ve been thinking a lot about the moments I cherish the most on this wild ride. For me, it’s definitely the funny ones. It’s the unlikely and unexpected moments that make me pee a little bit in my pants from laughing so hard.
In case you haven’t noticed, motherhood is difficult. I mean, really difficult. There’s so much at stake, there’s never enough time, sleep, or patience, there’s always a mess to clean and a load of laundry to fold, and no one ever wants to eat what I cook. If I can’t shed a tear from a good old-fashioned gigglefest every now and again, then I’m doomed.
Motherhood is chock-full of big, great, breathtaking moments.
There are miraculous moments. Birth! Pink, crying babies wrapped in hospital blankets.
There are beautiful moments. Squishy thighs. Tiny fingers. I love yous.
There are fun moments. Puddle splashing. Tickle hands. The Tooth Fairy!
There are milestone moments. First smiles. First steps. First days of school.
There are proud moments. Soccer goals. Graduations. Thank yous.
There are sad moments. Goodbyes. Loss.
There are moments of disbelief. I’m pregnant! There are moments of fear. Getting lost. Getting sick.
There are moments of awe. Discovering shadows. Walking into Kindergarten alone.
There are moments of triumph. Riding a bike without training wheels.
There are moments of gratitude and guilt and joy and peace and regret and so on and so on. The sky’s the limit on this incredible journey, and they’re all astonishing. Every single one of them.
But the moments I truly savor – the ones that fill my tank and thrust me forward no matter how flipping exhausted or worried or scared I am – are the moments that make me laugh so much that my belly hurts. The moments that make me forget, even if for a few seconds, just how impossible this job is. The moments that make me think, If I weren’t laughing I’d be crying! The moments that, even if they’re miserable when they happen, like a tantrum at 39,000 feet or a mural drawn with a Sharpie on the living room wall, eventually become the very best and most memorable ones. The moments that, in the deepest, most ridiculous trenches of parenting, make motherhood worth all the havoc and chaos that come with it.
Like when Dylan caught me putting a tampon in my back pocket. When he asked me what it was, I told him it was a cheese stick and he was okay with that. Or when our babysitter called us in a panic because he was chanting in his bed, “Can’t breathe, can’t breathe, walls closing in around me!” (He was quoting Alex from the first Madagascar movie.) Or when he told everyone he encountered, including the guy at the deli counter, “Mommy is at home taking yucky medicine that makes her poop.” (I was prepping for a colonoscopy.) Or when he cut his finger at camp, and at the emergency room he whispered in my ear, “I want to see dead people.” Or when the preschool called to inform me that he had streaked through his classroom. (That one took a little while to be funny.)
Like when Riley informed me that I would die when I turned 50. Or when he produced a puppet show that ended with an adorable monkey shooting three adorable little “fishies” in the head. (I should get that kid checked out!) Or when he pulled the emergency string in the bathroom at the hospital and a dozen doctors and nurses stormed in only to find him sitting on the toilet pooping and humming with his hand in the cookie jar on the string. Or when he demanded that I wrap him up in toilet paper, and when I said no he threatened to throw a pie at me. (Thank you Tom and Jerry.)
These are the kinds of moments I live for as a mother. The kind that force me to put aside my anxieties and frustrations. The kind that compel me to be present. The kind let me step outside of the grueling hamster wheel of life and have a magnificent and well-deserved laugh and, if I’m lucky, a snort from deep within my core. The kind that reassure me that everything will be okay, because if I can laugh at and with my family and, more importantly, at myself, then most likely I will survive the long, winding, unpredictable, and funny ride of raising my two boys.
Happy Mother’s Day.
What moments do you cherish the most?