There’s no easy way to explain the fierce love that a woman experiences when she becomes a mom. I was trying to explain it to Nate the other day, and he kind of just looked at me with a slightly confused (or maybe concerned) look on his face. It just doesn’t make sense when you’re trying to explain it. But to a mom, it’s reality. And quite frankly, to every mom reading this, I needn’t go on. They know what I’m talking about already.
They just get it.
I guess if I were absolutely required to express these emotions and feelings with the help of words, I would say this: when I became a mom, it was as though a small, treasured piece of me left my body. And that piece of my heart began to beat on its own, protected only by a beautiful, tiny person that it now lived in.
This happened the moment I set eyes on my baby boy. Suddenly, my own self came second. My whole world (my whole need to protect, and nurture, and care) began to revolve around someone else. But it didn’t feel like self-sacrifice.
Because that little someone else was a piece of me.
When Brady was in my womb, I constantly prayed over him, worrying about every little thing that could go wrong, and dreamed about the day that he was born. Then, and only then, would I stop worrying; because then I would physically be able to hold my perfect baby boy in my arms. Then I could physically protect him with my super-human, mommy strength and always know that he was okay. Because I would make sure that he was okay.
But once he was born, I quickly realized that my womb had been a safer place than this world we call home could ever be. At least then I could carry him in perfect warmth and protection. At least there, no hurtful words or angry bullies or harmful environments could touch him. He was safe inside his mommy, soothed to sleep by the sound of my voice and rocking of my movements.
But suddenly, he was living in this often hurtful, cruel world. Suddenly, that small piece of me was detached and wasn’t always with me. Suddenly, I was forced to sometimes leave that piece of my heart with someone else and to trust that he was being cared for the way that I would care for him.
It’s terrifying. Absolutely terrifying.
My little guy is only two, but there have already been moments that have made me want to whisk him away to a safe place where nothing hurtful can ever touch him. Kids have already been mean… He has already faced challenges that made me want to swoop in and solve a problem that he needs to solve himself. He has learned that sometimes life hurts.
But he is still so sweet and innocent. Still such a baby.
As he grows, I will have to learn to slowly let go. To trust that I raised him to be confident, even when the bullies taunt. To know that God will continue to guide him, even when he isn’t snuggled in my arms for a Bible story. I will have to be strong enough to let him take flight on his own, knowing that I taught him right from wrong.
As a mom, I look back on my own life with a new sense of respect for everything my parents faced, from letting me cry when my first job overwhelmed me to letting me travel thousands of miles away from home for college. They knew that fire makes gold burn only brighter. They knew that those hard moments were only molding me into a stronger, bolder, more confident woman. They knew that quitting wasn’t an option, and so they guided me and stood with me. But they didn’t hide me.
They held my hand and let me step out, so that I could learn to shine.
I’ve already come to realize that being mommy is going to hurt sometimes. Because that little someone who holds a piece of me will hurt sometimes. And every fiber of my being will scream out to protect and shelter. But sometimes I’ll have to let go of my baby’s hand, even if it may result in cuts and bruises. Sometimes I’ll have to trust him to someone else’s care, so that he can learn independence. I’ll have to watch him attempt challenges that test his endurance, patience, and will. And sometimes, I’ll have to watch him take a leap, even if he may fall.
Because he may also be ready to fly.
He’s only two, but I already know just how hard it will be for me to ever see my little guy struggle or hurt. But at the same time, I also know that the hard moments only strengthen us and prepare us to be strong. To be confident. To be leaders.
Sometimes, it’s the tough moments that propel us to greatness and to a more meaningful life than we could have imagined.
One thing I know for sure is this… As fiercely as I love my baby boy, there is One who loves him even more. And so I can only raise him the best I can and then trust him into the arms of the Savior who can – and will – always be with him.