The view from the glider in my daughter’s bedroom shows a map of the world. Though I bought the map to inspire a sense of adventure for her, it has become meaningful to me as a source of connection. It is connection to the moms in different time zones and circumstances who are doing what I do in that chair — fiercely loving their child. When I find myself rocking her during the hours that conventional wisdom tells me I should be sleeping, I look at that map and remind myself that I’m not the only mom going through a phase that, at times, feels harder than it does fun.
Holding my daughter as she naps, looking at our map, I’m filled with questions I could never possibly answer: How many other moms out there are cradling their babies so they can sleep through an ear infection? How many other moms are resorting to slice-and-bake cookies for Santa and picking up a pre-made appetizer for New Year’s Eve because there’s just no more Mom Magic left at the end of the holiday season? How many other moms question whether they are doing all they can to keep their children safe and healthy? Is it just me?
The duality of my feelings has been a challenge. Daily, I am filled with immense gratitude for my beautiful family, yet I also still mourn the life I once lived, a life unencumbered by the stress of missing work due to someone else’s illness or harming relationships by canceling plans at the last minute.
So, in this new year, I will keep cultivating gratitude. I will fight to live in the moment. I will take my children camping in the White Mountains and delight in watching them splash in the campground lake with sand squishing between their toes. I look forward to hearing my daughter’s language change from babbles to words, and to seeing my son (hopefully!) make it all the way up Great Blue on his own. I strive to be attentive to the ways my husband brings joy to our children, as he is present with them in a way that catches my breath day in and day out. There is so much good to see.
So, moms, as I sit in the glider looking at my small corner of the world, I see you. I see your struggles and sacrifices and triumphs. I am lucky to be on this journey with you.