Motherhood is hard. Motherhood is wonderful. It's both, all at once.
When I was pregnant with Evie, I imagined holding her while she was sleeping. And kissing her sweet head. And tickling her fat little toes. I imagined hearing coos and whispering songs in her ear and contentedly rocking her in the dead of night.
And those things happened. Those were blissful moments, to be sure.
But I didn't imagine how I would handle a baby in the backseat of the car, screaming her pretty little head off. I didn't consider what it would be like to try to coax her back to sleep for hours at 2 AM. I had no idea how hard it would be to get poop stains out of her clothes after she'd been on antibiotics for a week. And don't get me started on the balancing act of keeping up with dishes and vacuuming and taking a shower and working and commuting and still finding time to mother her.
So I was much more prepared for Ethan's arrival. I knew what I was getting myself into. I was prepared for all the pitfalls. All the bumps in the road. All the exhaustion and mundane routine of the first months and years. I was terrified.
Other than that first week in the NICU, though, he's been an easy baby. He's sweet and fat and sleepy most of the time. My fears have been largely unfounded. Evie loves him, wants to be near him, talks to him, sings to him, wakes him up just to try and play, "shares" her lip gloss with him.
Oh, does he have my heart! When someone else is holding him, Ethan looks around for me. I can see his little eyes searching me out. He puts his head on my shoulder and curls his legs in and sleeps. He coos sweet nothings to me.
And he has the best smile. The worst day could be cured by his gummy grin. I don't even have to do anything to earn this reward - he just looks at me. In the morning, in the afternoon, at dinner, in the middle of the night... He only looks at me and breaks into a wide smile. His face brightens and his dimple appears.
These smiles from my children - Evie's over-the-top, head-tilted, laughing smile and Ethan's toothless, bright grin - are all the payment I'll ever need for this job with the title of "Mother."
5 hours ago