Almost six years into motherhood and I can say this about it: intense joy and raw grief simultaneously define my life.
I grieve the passing of days, the firming of Bright's baby fat into the muscles and sinews of a boy. I grieve the moments when I turned my child away in the name of cooking dinner. I grieve the look in my three-year-old's eyes after my short supply of patience ran out on him. I grieve the frighteningly scarce amount of time that I have with each child, daily and in this life, to impart all that I so desperately want to impart as a mother. In my life, I have traveled to the darkest of regions and back, and upon returning, I began to plead for my future children. Don't let them know how dark the darkness can be, L0RD. Don't let them play with demons. Set their hearts unwaveringly on the path that leads to life, that they may hate the darkness and love the light.
I will be honest, though. My grief is also very selfish. I grieve the loss of my waist line. I grieve the loss of my brain, which so often reminds me of the jam in our fridge - sweet, but not good for a variety of things. I grieve the loss of personal space, of quiet, of enjoyable meal times, of the right to say, "No thank you, I think today I will just rest."
And yet, my cup overflowith. My cup, which is not a very pretty one. Showers are rare and hurried. My hair has not parted company with its ponytail holder in G0D only knows how long. I think about the day when quiet returns - when dragons and tigers and spider-monkeys no longer thunder through the house, pouncing upon each other and breaking each other's glasses and bruising each other's toes - and I want to hold that day off as long as possible. I don't want to eat in silence, listening to the sound of my butter knife scraping across my toast. I want to play "I spy with my little eye" over and over and over and over until Zion FINALLY takes his last bite of cold food so we can gather at the TV and watch Bear Grylls take on the wilderness while three little boys grind popcorn into the cushions.
In a few years, when my kids stand at the edge of darkness with decisions to make, I pray that we will all be ready. Until then, I will continue to let them pick out their own outfits (except on Sundays), and we will continue to kiss right on the mouth, because no one can do anything but live where they are and choose to enjoy it.