A small water bottle on the counter. A stacking cup or two, scattered under the kitchen table or coffee table. A uneaten cheerio, found on the bathroom floor. A onesie, taken off before a meal, draped over the rocking chair arm. So many tiny items in our home, all around me, forever reminding me of our little boy. These little remembrances, usually discovered during naptime or after bedtime, make my heart swell and my eyes water.
This was my first mother's day with a babe in my arms. Last year, Cooper was constantly kicking in utero, making us smile. We filled our weekends with preparations for him, and little did we know how special that tiny person was. How special this little life is.
I was unsure of how to write about Mother's day. It's a day filled with emotion for nearly everyone. It's a celebration for many, but for just as many, it's swirled with grief and mourning, loss, and hurt. And it bears a heaviness, too, of the weight of raising up a baby and knowing that I am his mama. That was what I felt most, the weightiness and significance of parenthood. What a privilege it is to raise this little boy, to teach him about life and Jesus and loving others and exploring the world around him. That, along with a little better understanding of the weight of love my own wonderful mom and mother-in-law have for their kids. Goodness, I am so loved and blessed by these two women.
The day makes me want to write something poetic, something new, because even almost a year in, motherhood still feels new. I told myself subconsciously that there is no better timing to sum it up--the emotions and events and memories of nearly a year--than on a national holiday. But I wasn't ready to do that just yet. Goodness knows that I don't need to be nudged to nostalgia, but I find I need to give myself more time than ever before to sit with my feelings and process, rather than busy the feelings away or spit them out into a tidy caption.
It's not all sunshine, but there is a poignancy in motherhood that surprises me over and over again. The way the top of Cooper's head is faintly scented with my perfume, from when he nuzzles his head under my chin. His little knees, red from speed crawling. His joy is real, he doesn't fake smiles. He reaches for us when he wants to be held, he rests his head on our shoulders when he's tired, or when he wants to snuggle. He wakes up from naps, and smiles and reaches for us, kicking his feet for us to hurry, sometimes planting a kiss after we scoop him up. The way he wraps his arms and legs tight around us when we hold him now. The way his nose crinkles when he smiles as big as he can.
He brings a lightness to heavy things in our life. A bright spot, we always say.
In the last few weeks, I've cried as I gave Cooper a bath in the sink, acutely aware of how precious a child's life it. I've celebrated and cried tears of joy for friends who are carrying their miracle babies, after years of waiting. I've felt the grief of what a weighty and thin life this is. The sadness and the joy and hope we have in a God who never sleeps. His work is never done.
In writing this, I'm more aware than ever that I can't truly articulate how my heart feels in relation to being a mama. But sometimes it's okay to write about how I don't know it all. To get something out on the page. To articulate that I don't know it all, but I know my God is good.
I love these lyrics from Chris Renzema's song Let the ground rest (the whole album is so, so good) :
Waiting for your time to come
Your fifteen minutes in the sun
So don't you find it strange?
That God, He made four seasons and only one spring
So oh, just let the ground rest
'Cause if it's not right now, it's for the best
You're gonna grow, I know this
But for now, just let the ground rest
'Cause you'll finish what you start
You started this, I know
And if you saw the plans
Maybe you wouldn't go
I'll watch Him plant a seed
And then let the ground rest
So child, oh believe
'Cause I promise there's a harvest
Whatever season you're in as you read this, He promises there is a harvest for His children. Without words, we are not without worth. And His work is not done.
And because writing this already makes me feel so much, here are some of my very favorite photos of Cooper and I. The ones with my smile lines and my messy hair, the ones that strike the loudest chord in my heart.