Reflections on Motherhood


I often look at my kids and still feel a little shocked that they each came from me, these sweet, stubborn, quirky offspring, complete little people in their own right.  I love them fiercely, and they drive me crazy.  They each make my life richer than I ever imagined, and even though I sometimes secretly confess to myself that I might be a better mother to fewer kids, I can’t imagine my life, or our family, without every single one of them.  The day-to-day grind wears me down sometimes, and yet, I often feel a desperation to hang onto now, because it really does go by in a flash.  I can remember each of their infanthoods so clearly that it feels like something tangible I can almost – but not quite – grab hold of with my hands.  They’re growing up by leaps and bounds, and sometimes it breaks my heart.

I’m not sure where this urge to reproduce, to mother, came from for me.  My own mother certainly never made parenting look like an appealing endeavor.  I think for the longest time, I just wanted this wellspring of love inside me to be tapped.  I wanted to be allowed to love somebody without reservation, and yes, selfishly, to be loved back in the same manner – something I never experienced until I became a mother.  And so, after a long, painful road, Kevin was born, and for the first time I began to experience a love that often leaves a physical ache in the center of me.

I wake up every day wanting to be a better mother to my kids than I was the day before, and every day I fail to be the mother I want to be, the mother I think my kids deserve: patient, calm, selfless, and wise.  It’s a fool’s game to keep setting standards I know I can’t live up to.  I know I’m not the worst mother out there, but far from the best either.  And yet, no matter how much I feel I fail, no matter how unqualified I often feel, my kids keep on loving this mom they got stuck with.

***

This morning there was a pile of cards – most of them homemade – on the table for me, as well as gifts.  Most notable:

This from Joey –

Wow.  I was speechless by this.  My sweet boy.

These from Michael –

This photo doesn’t do it justice.  It’s a photo of the kids taken about a year and a half ago (one we used for our 2009 holiday card), printed on an 8″ X 10″  sheet of tin – yes, tin!  It’s very cool, I love it!

This is a photo of me and Finn taken when Finn was a mere infant.  Michael had it printed on a 16″ X 24″ canvas!  Just to give perspective of the size of it:

Not the most flattering picture of me, and yes, it’s a little weird to have a poster-size closeup of my face hanging on the living room wall, but this photo is very dear to me, embodying all the love I discovered for this baby I never expected to have.

Anyway, it was a nice Mother’s Day.

Capped off by another trip to the ER, the details of which I will save for tomorrow.

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10 Comments on “Reflections on Motherhood”

  1. Jennifer Varanini Sanchez
    May 9, 2011 at 4:14 am #

    I LOVE it Lisa…LOVE LOVE LOVE the gifts and card and that first photo of you with all the kids….the matriarch of the family…BEAUTIFUL!!!!

  2. Stephanie
    May 9, 2011 at 5:02 am #

    I absolutely love your pictures. You have a very beautiful family Lisa.

  3. Heather
    May 9, 2011 at 6:07 am #

    Wow! You were spoiled! I absolutely love the picture on tin. Cutest kids! And the canvas print is beautiful. How have I never seen that picture? I thought I’d seen all of the great ones from his first year. Ha! You hit it spot on with this post. It’s exactly how I feel as a mother and also the reason I think I ached to become a mother. It’s not an easy job and I know I could do it better or should be doing it better. Every night I resolve to do better the next day but than seem to be the same mom I was the day before. We are so lucky to be mothers and have children who love us unconditionally, imperfections and all. Happy Mother’s Day! I love the picture of you surrounded by your beautiful children. You make it look so easy to get a good picture of six kids! 🙂

  4. starrlife
    May 9, 2011 at 12:05 pm #

    Beautiful photos all! Happy Mom’s Day. What great kids you have! And a great hubs.

  5. Anna
    May 9, 2011 at 1:51 pm #

    Oh you lucky woman!

    It’s something i’ve been meaning to ask you to comment on. A lot of research shows that parents are generally less happy than non-parents (provided they are not single).Here’s a link:
    http://nymag.com/news/features/67024/#content
    But subjectively it feels so different. Even thought I got PPD with both of my sons, I feel strongly that they made me happier. I know it can be self-deception, but if so, then it’s a very successful one. Still data is data… It’d be great to hear your side. (the question is not whether you are happy to have had children and it’s not about regret – no one regrets having children – rather the question is whether you’d be as happy of a person if you never had children).

    • Lisa
      May 9, 2011 at 2:09 pm #

      Excellent topic of discussion, Anna. I’ll try to write about this soon!

  6. Maggie
    May 9, 2011 at 9:36 pm #

    Lisa — First, I hope Michael is OK. Second, you sure are lucky! To have such wonderful gifts (your children, their cards and presents) to cherish. I LOVE the pic of you and Finn!

  7. Alyson
    May 9, 2011 at 10:24 pm #

    I don’t know why but the picture of you and Finn made me tear up. I am an overly emotional person but though different in some ways I identify with you so much. The large family,the atheism,the mom guilt you are so refreshingly candid about and yes having a child with special/different needs.
    I am so glad you had a nice Mother’s day Lisa:)

    • Lisa
      May 9, 2011 at 10:35 pm #

      Thank you, Alyson.

  8. Taryl
    May 10, 2011 at 2:03 am #

    That letter from Joey is beautiful. Save it for those moments you feel like throttling one of them 😉

    I also happen to think that picture of you and Finn is incredibly tender, what a beautiful portrait! I can see why your husband was partial to having it blown up and displayed.

    You have an incredible family and husband, who are all fortunate to have you.

    I’m with Anna on the happiness thing. Sometimes it is hard, postpartum depression is absolutely terrible, but I cannot imagine being more joyful (truly fulfilled as well as amused and entertained) without my children. They have made me better. My marriage, my life, it’s all better because of their sweetness and love.

    I hope yours is, as well. Take care!

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