The Lump On My Chest
I’m sitting in bed typing with one hand, still wearing my sweatshirt because I have this wonderful lump of a little boy asleep on my chest and I’m just not willing to put him down.
These moments of sweetness, they surprise me. The unreasonable amount of love I feel is overwhelming as I listen to his heavy breathing, little chest movements that try to shake him from his perch against my shoulder into a slumped puddle around my belly…
There are times when the emotion of motherhood is so raw and so encompassing I feel like a leaf flying in front of a hurricane.
I look back at the last six months and I can no longer even imagine what life would have been like if he hadn’t been born. I grieve that I wouldn’t have known how he would nudge the boundaries of my heart larger and fill my world with more light.
This is the emotion that makes me pause when we talk about whether our family is complete. It’s easy to say we are done having children when I’m in the midst of incessant requests and a tsunami of emotion, when I look at my gray hairs and realize I’m more adept at quoting child-rearing theories these days than articulating intended outcomes, cost/benefit plans, and navigating organizational politics.
To be honest, I crave the days when things were orderly, when the shoulders of my shirts didn’t sport various forms of mucous, when my time was my own to direct. There was never a layer of dust on the leaves of the potted plants and when I went shopping I never stopped in the toy section just to see if there were any amazing new products.
From my current chaotic state I look at the clean lines of that life and sigh.
Then I take another look, this one influenced by the memory of daily laughter, awe, mystery, curiosity, and humility, and realize the emptiness of my previous life of order. Child rearing is the hardest job I was never prepared for, and some days I want to cry, to rage, to quit….
But then I feel this little body huddled on my chest and my arms don’t have the strength to put him down because I realize his presence is my blessing, a genuine miracle wearing 6-9 month footie pajamas!
I can’t imagine what I would have missed had he never been born.
And I am replenished to stand up for another day, to give my all to this battle once more and relish the treasure of childhood.
Courage doesn’t always roar.
Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying,
“I will try again tomorrow.”
– Mary Anne Radmacher