Saturday, February 21, 2015

The Overwhelming Alertness of Senses

Every moment is deafening, blinding, suffocating, and crushing. Every sense is awakened and finely attuned to the most miniscule of details. It’s as if your very life and your baby’s life depends upon the alertness of your senses.

It’s a series of moments that affect you in ways that you can’t quite put a finger on. Little things are huge, like dirty dishes in the sink, the faucet dripping, bottles that need to be washed and then filled again, laundry piled up, toys spread across the floor, a thin layer of dust accumulating on the coffee table, the pillows not aligned correctly on the sofa, a lethargic fly buzzing by the window, your husband’s word choice, the sound of a car driving by too fast during the night, the rumble of the neighbor’s Harley in the afternoon, or items placed where they don’t belong. It’s like having the alertness after drinking a cup of coffee except there’s no caffeine fix and instead you’re tired.

Add a screaming baby with avocado smeared in her hair throwing her sippy cup on the floor--lid popping off and water spilling everywhere, the stench of a freshly filled  and blown out diaper, the crunch as you step on yet another Cheerio, the smoke alarm going off because your toast has burned in the toaster (again), your coffee growing cold, the shrill beeps of the oven that won’t stop until you press cancel, the wash machine going out of balance in the next room, and it’s not long before you are about to burst. Heart and soul—everything. Like you could crumble onto the kitchen floor, but you can’t because you have to keep going, that’s what mamas do.

And after these moments pass, when the baby is happily playing, smiling, and cooing—you collapse in your husband’s comfortable brown leather chair. Your chest feels heavy, like you are struggling to breathe. You’re clutching to what’s left of your strength, but your grip is slipping.

As much as you try to hold it in, the dam breaks and warm tears rush down your cheeks onto your spit-up stained t-shirt. She glaces up at you with those bright blue eyes, you imagine a look of confusion crossing her face, but she continues on in her play.

This breaks your heart into a million more pieces.  You turn the other direction and try to stop the tears. She cannot see you like this. It’s not her fault, and you worry you will cause her some inconsolable guilt that she will live with for the rest of her life.

But the tears don’t stop until they’ve run their course, the body knowing what the mind needs. And you feel relief. You take a full breath of air and you feel yourself start to relax. Your strength, although ever-faltering, returns.

You pull your weary body onto the floor and pull your beautiful baby girl into your arms and cover her in kisses. She giggles, a little smile brightening her eyes. You can see how much she loves you simply when she looks into your eyes, and this brings a sense of relief.

And then she pulls away from your shaky embrace and quickly returns to play, turning around to give you one more excited smile and shriek before she’s distracted yet again.

As much as you think she has noticed the weakness you feel as a mother, how incapable and weary you feel, you can tell that she feels the strength of your love—and this brings you peace.


  1. Beautiful. So glad you are sharing your heart!

  2. Exactly! You just captured the best and worst of being a mom! We have ALL been there and cried the tears of joy and stress together....keep up the good work.



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