It has been a long winter.
In previous years, I would try to venture outside with my son, no matter the weather. But with a little sister in tow, and months and months of snow, that has added up to too much inside time, too much TV, and a lot of crazy for all of us.
So, as my daughter came down with her sixth or seventh illness of this long winter, I thought was about to lose my mind. Not only was this another sickness, it was a SUPER contagious one. No Montessori school for my son a week.
I started to feel like I couldn’t take it any more.
On the first day my daughter was sick, I was already overwhelmed about what was going to come the rest of the week. My son bouncing off the walls because we were confined to the house due to my daughter's sickness, and we were both dealing with our crabby sick baby. Fun. Yay me.
Here we go again.
My daughter was feeling terrible and asked to take a shower. The warm water usually distracts her from how terrible she’s feeling, so we got in. Immediately, she looked up at me and cried, “Up-y, up-y” with her sick and sleepy looking eyes. I picked her up, covered in spots and hot from a fever, and held her. She laid her head on my shoulder and placed her little arms around my neck and squeezed me tight, and I rocked her.
At that moment, despite feeling the way I did about the never-ending winter, and another sickness, and all the other things bounding through my head, I was overcome with a sense of peace.
She fit perfectly in my arms like she was meant for me, and I was meant to be her mommy. I was overwhelmed with gratitude for this amazing, tiny, person who was feeling miserable but was immediately comforted by me. I was overwhelmed with love for her sweetness, and her fragility, and her love for me in return.
I held her for what seemed like forever, and she didn’t move. I didn’t move my arms from around her. I smelled her hair and kissed her face and was completely taken away by the emotion of how much I love her.
I found myself marveling at the sudden realization that motherhood is overwhelming because it’s so demanding, all-consuming and important. I was overcome by the realization that she fit perfectly in my arms because right now, I am what she needs in order to feel whole and happy and safe.
And that beautiful revelation is why motherhood can be so overwhelming.
So our long, rough, icy winter melted away. The worry of sickness, the awful weather, the crazy that the last few months had been. All of it gone.
It’s overwhelming to have another person so completely dependent on you for everything, all of the time.
It’s overwhelming to have more than one child so dependent on you. It’s overwhelming to also try to be present to a husband, a dog, a house, a job.
It all feels like too much at times.
But wow...what a miracle it is at the same time. This little human who I get the opportunity to raise, and shape, and love—I am her world. It can all be so much. And that’s the beauty of it.
As I stood there, soaking her in, I had a new appreciation for the true miracle that being a parent really is. An appreciation for being overwhelmed. Although the hard stuff doesn’t go away, the winters are still long, and the road is still bumpy, I found the most beautiful comfort in a very ordinary moment.
So, when you find yourself overwhelmed, tired, and feeling crazy, I hope you can stop. Soak up the ordinary moments. The ordinary, hard, but important moments.
I hope that you too will find the miracle of being a parent overwhelming, but in such a beautiful way.