I was making Father's Day cards this morning and looking through pictures from our families life together. Life these days looks a lot different than it did when I just had babies. I am not the very same person. I am not the same Mom. That is surprising to me. I didn't know how much motherhood, over years, would change me and I didn't realize how much, over years, the role of mother would change for me. It makes my heart ache. I think it's part of being a mom. We change with and for our kids, and for ourselves, and even though it's changed, it's the same.
Ten years ago I was the mom of two little blonde babies. Our house was small, our schedule was simple, but exhausting. My days were long and we felt happy when we made it out of the house. I was always trying to think of things that could fill up our time and keep my little people busy and happy and me sane. I thought it was crazy that I had two kids in diapers at the same time. I needed my husband every night to immediately take over when he came home from work, at least for a little while. I loved watching my little babies grow into toddlers and then preschoolers. I couldn't believe it when my daughter started to read and I couldn't get enough of the funny things my kids would say when they were learning to put words together. I worried that I was not enough for them. I worried that I was not doing things right. I worried about what other people thought about the way I mothered. At the end of those long baby days, I sometimes felt like I had not done anything that really mattered all day long, but in my best moments I was in heaven. I loved being a mom and it was hard at the same time.
Now, there are bedrooms full of kids in our house (and all their stuff, you know?). We have a dog and a lizard. We juggle schedules between four schools, church activities, appointments, sports, dance, and piano lessons. I have kids who can talk about national news, their feelings, and social issues. I have kids who can play the piano better than I can and bake a batch of cookies. I still have kids whose favorite activities are bubbles and play dough. I clean up after people more than I ever have. I juggle the needs of kids in different stages with very different needs. I still have two kids in diapers. My husband and I are still a team, but I am used to him traveling and can mostly keep things going at home on my own when he's away. I love the hilarious things my kids say as they experiment with their own senses of humor. I love watching how different my children are from each other and how they interact with their teachers, friends, and each other. I love watching the slow, painstaking growth in development for Si and Lou. A lot of times I love the chaos around me, Sometimes it's too much. I worry that I am not enough for the people I love the most. I worry that I am not doing things right. I worry about what other people think about the way I mother. My days fly by and at the end I sometimes feel like I never did anything that really mattered, but the best moments are heaven. I love being a mom and it is hard at the same time.
Things have changed and stayed the same.