Everything changes

The heartbeat I once saw on the screen is a school-aged girl wonder.
The baby I nursed is a six-year-old lover of love boy.
The bottles I once washed are now family dinners arguing over what we like to eat this week.
The diapers are gone and replaced with sports equipment everywhere.
The daycare I once needed is replaced with after school everything.
The house with just a little pile of toys right here is now stuff, just more and more stuff on every surface in every corner.
Everything changes.

As a seasoned mother reminded me this week
the things that make me anxious and tired and wanting an out
are all of the things I will look back and realize how much I miss.
Everything changes.

The toddler holding my hand, learning to talk still needs to talk things out with me, for now anyway.
The chubby fingers and face are now growing into who you were always meant to be.
The little is being replaced with personality.
The laughter and patience I once had are becoming more tired and faded.
The baby love that made me whole is scared of the children I need to raise
the adults they will be tomorrow.
Everything changes.

So, as I go around the house and wipe down counters,
as I pick up and put away
as I clean on top of clean on top of clean
as I tidy and the frustration builds in my chest
I have to remember
everything changes.

The day will come when they are either no longer in need of all this stuff
no longer in want.
The day will come when the house will be so quiet that "noise" will split me in two.
The day will come when I will long with my whole body for signs of life in my home.
Everything changes.

Velveteen mothers know all too well that the years feel like days.
They find themselves staring at the people they once held on to so tightly and thinking over and over
once upon a time not so long ago
you were an extension of me.
I was your world and you were my stars.
Everything changes.

Which is why I love that I am the collector of stories
I love how much I can play back each and every memory.
But it is also at times quite painful to feel as though I can still reach out and touch that little that I got the privilege to mother.
Everything changes.

Here is what I know to be true and need you both to understand.
I have zero regrets about how I spent my time...
carefully examining you and breathing you in.
Watching each day with love.
Hearing myself in old videos
seeing old pictures
I am reminded how much I enjoyed mothering you.
How much fun I had and how much I relished in the days.
I was slow with you.
I enjoyed you.
Everything changes.

And as the parenting gets more delicate and heavy.
As I feel this need to guide more and this worry hanging over me
I hope to return to the me I was and still am.
Everything changes, even this velveteen mother.


My new name

It started with you, my new name of mamma to mommy to mom.
It started with new and amazing and familiar at the same time.
Mother comes with all sorts of things.
And just like us, some of it is new and some familiar...
It comes with
a new body
and a new way of thinking
and new priorities
and new challenges
and new tempers
and old tempers
and new schedules
and new perspectives
and a new understanding
and old ways of doing things
and new ways of doing things
and a new sense of self and selflessness and selfishness.

Mom comes with a new love
a new meaning to the word love
a love so unique and incredibly genuine.
A love you can measure like rings around her heart.

Mother comes with new and old edges.
It comes with sharp replies
it comes with your history, your past, your wounds.

Mother comes with a new and an old soft.
Soft edges
soft words
soft reminders.

I have a new name, and it is mom.


Seasoned mother

That is what being a seasoned mother teaches you,
always put on your mask first, there is no other way.
And yes, she now realizes all that there is that is still her.
Even though she was born, on the day you were born.

It is hard to know when it happens.
When you hit the switch from new mom to seasoned.

And although it can be argued that you are never really seasoned...
because each and everyday, it's new.
They change, a new day, a new age, new.
But somewhere along the journey, there is a shift, a change.
And it doesn't feel as new, as strange.
Instead, it can even start to feel like same old, and boring old parenting.
But there is a lot a seasoned mother has to say
not as advice
not as judgement
just her thoughts.
Her collection of experiences
spread out before her.

A seasoned mother realizes that you cannot always put yourself last.
A seasoned mother realizes that she has to put on her own mask first, or else she has nothing to give.
A seasoned mother realizes how important it is to find yourself in the fog.
Find what you love and what brings you joy so you can spread joy to them.


A seasoned mother realizes how important words are for both them and herself.
You have to find a way to express your frustration
feelings of overwhelming crushing demand
feelings of blue
and loss.
Words are so important.


A seasoned mother realizes that time is too fleeting.
And the infancy stage is so cruel because it is so short.
The new, the pink, the smell of baby, they all fade too quickly.


A seasoned mother realizes her most useful tool is saying "I am sorry".
I am sorry that I lost my patience
I am sorry that I expected too much from you
I am sorry that I yelled
I am sorry that I am teaching you to yell
I am sorry that I wasted time being angry and upset about that
I am sorry that I am not feeling like a great mom, or acting like one
I am sorry that you yell too, because you learned it from me.


A seasoned mother realizes that the end of the day is most important.
And that even in the worst of the fog, you find love and find a way to find the good and say thank you.
You find a way to be close, to make sure they go to bed full...
of love
and hope
and kindness.
She makes sure that when they finally close their eyes for the day, they are full of family.


A seasoned mother realizes that as they start to sleep more, you become more exhausted.
Because they are nonstop.
Nonstop movement
nonstop questions
nonstop talking
nonstop fighting
nonstop meltdowns.
And the worry only grows as they grow.
What was once worry and concern of charts and milestones becomes are they good people?
Are they choosing good people to bring into their circle?
Are they going to be able to cope with life?
Am I teaching them how to handle stress and life and loss and love?
Am I loving them enough?
Do they feel safe?
Are they hurt, is someone hurting them?
Are they going to make it through this time?
Am I?
The worry grows as they grow and a seasoned mother realizes how tiring this growth is.


And because of that exhaustion, a seasoned mother realizes that patience is her ugliest trait.
Because she has none,
even after sleeping for a full night, she wakes up with no patience for it all.
And as her day goes on and on, she loses her temper,
she loses her smile,
she loses all of the promises she has made about how today will be different.
But she also realizes if she sticks it out, they give her a reason to smile.
They give her the joy she needs to keep going.
She realizes that with all that they take, they give back.


A seasoned mother realizes how important humor is.
How it is the only way to get through this all.
She understands how important a partner is
how important it is to make them feel appreciated
how much she wants to be appreciated.
How much she needs to hear that she is working as hard as she can and she is making the best life for them.
Together, we are giving them the best we can.
A seasoned mother realizes how important partnership is
how much she needs it in her life.


A seasoned mother realizes that her person is her rock.
They are who she needs to cry to, scream at, because she can't to them.
She needs to tell them of her loss, her pain for them moving on
and how they only need to listen.
Not fix, there is nothing to fix, there is nothing broken, this is life and she is saddened by the loss.
A seasoned mother needs to turn to you
for comfort
for love
for closeness.
She needs to reach for you
she needs to know that you are there
that you are on her side
that you care about her
that you think she is doing ok
that you appreciate her.
A seasoned mother needs needs her person to say
I don't know how you are doing this all
I don't know how I am doing this all

but somehow, we are.
Together, we are doing it all and together we are trying our best and together, we are giving them all we can.
A seasoned mother needs her person.


A seasoned mother needs friends.
This is not something to be taken lightly.
She needs her circle.
She needs her daughter to see her tight, healthy, there for each other and there to bring them up not bring them down circle.
A seasoned mother needs to tell her secrets
she needs to hear theirs.
A seasoned mother needs to laugh with her circle
to hug them tight.
A seasoned mother needs them to know how important this is
because they are her survival through the mud and fog.

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A seasoned mother realizes that she is just a part of their life,
she is not all of them.
And therefore, they cannot be all of her.
A seasoned mother realizes that they cannot be your world and you are not theirs.
She searches for herself and her relationship each day.
She wants to insert herself, but realizes you need to find your way.
A seasoned mother never gets used to letting go, but she does anyway.
A seasoned mother isn't old, isn't beat up, isn't a mess.
She is comfort.
She is your safety.
She is your cozy.
She is your home.
A seasoned mother's words are not to pass judgement
they are not meant as a guide
they are not advice to you.
This is her life, spread out before her
her time-capsule
her memories that unfold each and every day.


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