June was adorable at the water park- splashing in the water, crawling in the shallow end, going down slides, pooping in the pool. (But seriously.) It's crazy to watch her and see how active she is, how her little personality is developing, how she is so aware of everything that is going on. She is such a little thing but she does big things.
Then we got in the car and she passed out cold.
When we got home I tried to give her a bottle, but she couldn't drink much because she was just so stinking tired. She would give a few sucks and then her eyes would droop and finally I just gave it up. So instead I held her in my arms in the darkness of her nursery and rocked my baby/ almost toddler and thought over and over how much I love being this girl's mom. I felt her little sixteen pound body against mine, her heaving chest, her growing red hair, her legs that now hang off of my lap.
I know there are many moms out there or hopeful moms who yearn mightily for babies. They go through rounds of IVF and pray and work themselves into the ground for a baby. And sometimes it takes years for the babies to get to their mamas. I think about the moms and how much it must mean to those women to finally finally get to be a mother. I think many would agree that surely the struggle, the fight, the work, the years of wanting makes the experience of becoming a mom all that much sweeter.
I did not yearn for a baby. I didn't struggle or fight or work for my little Junebug. My husband wanted to start a family desperately and I knew I would want kids some day and after three years of marriage I finally took a leap of faith and agreed to try to start out family. But I was scared and still not entirely sure I wanted it. Even when I was pregnant, I didn't count down the days until her birth, I didn't even really think about what it would be like to hold her and cuddle her and nurse her. I didn't have a nursery prepared and I didn't wash and fold loads of tiny clothes. The pregnancy sped by, and before I knew it my mom-less days were over and I was being wheeled in to the surgical room so they could cut open my stomach and still I didn't yearn for a baby.
And then I met June and just like that it all changed.
The moment June was placed in my arms and every day since I was and am dumbfounded by the absolute joy of being her mom. I sit and rock her and I can't believe how much I love her and what a sweet experience it is to be a mom. I don't want to put June down because maybe if I never put her down she will never stop being my baby. I feed her and play with her and change her clothes, and over and over I am surprised by my level of enjoyment. I didn't fight and struggle and yearn for this experience and in some ways I feel like I don't even deserve to like it this much. Like I didn't pay the price for motherhood. But I wonder too if I am entitled to enjoy being June's mom as much as women who do have to fight for it. Am I allowed to love it on the same level? Maybe for me the struggle doesn't make motherhood sweeter, but the surprise does. Like it snuck up on me. This beautiful life experience waiting for me all these years that I never knew, never imagined would be like this. And then here it was just waiting for me, waiting to surprise me, waiting for me to love it with an intensity that I never imagined I could.
I really love teaching. It is a job that is very fitting for me. But I knew I would love it. When I was in school and throughout my student teaching and all the classes I enrolled in and the tests I took, I was sure it was all leading up to a job that I was really going to enjoy. And then I became a teacher and I loved it. But I wasn't surprised that I loved it. I loved it just like I anticipated I would.
But motherhood. Motherhood I didn't know I was going to love. I didn't prepare for it and I didn't take tests and in fact the truth is I imagined I probably wouldn't be much good at it at all. Like it was for women who are kinder and more patient and less crazy and more put together. Like it was for women who were somehow different than me. But then motherhood came to me, without me wanting or willing it, a gift I never understood how much it would mean to have.
And I look down at my sleeping June, who is so alive and so alert and who makes every day better and I think that I could not possibly love this sweet experience any more.