Lately, Jiya has become a big snuggler. “Mommy, do you want to cuddle up with me and watch Frozen?” Why yes! Yes, I do. Now that she’s three and perfectly conversational, it’s like having a built in friend. She is inquisitive, talkative and so adventurous! There are so many things we love to do together -- read books, tells stories, work on arts & craft projects, dance, bake... the list is endless. While she is blossoming into her own individual and gaining so much independence, at three, she still sees me as the window to so many opportunities. Mommy teaches me to dance, mommy takes me to the zoo, mommy pushes me in the swings! And (usually), mommy is happy to oblige.
At eight months old, Leela is still a baby with round cheeks and two newly sprouted teeth. She doesn’t know much about the world around her, but she knows her mommy. She knows when I enter the room, she knows me by my smell, my voice, my touch. She knows that when she leans toward me I will know she wants to nurse. She knows that when she tugs at my pants, I will pick her up. And she knows that when she cries, I will comfort her.
With Mother’s day coming up this weekend, I’ve been reflecting on what it has meant to me to be a mother. While this experience is different for every woman, there are invariable truths. Your life is no longer your own. Your children’s happiness means more to you than your own. Your priorities have changed, your body has changed, your heart is full.
Yes, you are tired – You have bags under your eyes, worry in your heart, and your whole life seems to revolve around those sweet little faces. Their smiles, their tears, their needs.
But, when I think about being a mom, I think of all the joys before I can remember the hardships. That Jiya tells me every day that I’m her best friend and that she loves me sooo much. I think of Leela crawling toward me with her little scooting body, and trying to climb up my legs. I think of both girls together in the bathtub, splashing, playing with bubbles and grinning at each other.
When I am tired from a too-early morning, I remember that there are so many joys in each day:
How Leela’s determined little fingers have learned to pick up a cheerio and put it in her mouth,
how she has learned to clap and wave (at appropriate times!),
how eager she is to hold her own bottle…
How Jiya lines up her princesses for a tea party,
how she mixes paints with her fingers to explore the colors they will make,
how she becomes interested in everything I’m wearing, putting on my face, using in my hair.
Sometimes I find myself just sitting and watching my girls. Watching Leela gum tiny pieces of fruit, watching her arms flail with excitement when her daddy comes home, watching her chubby body pulling up to stand in her crib. It is truly incredible to watch Jiya solve a puzzle, to see her little mind working to put pieces together, to witness the delight that spreads across her face when she’s accomplished something new.
To be a witness to every day miracles, that is the joy of motherhood.
When you are tired, remember the little miracles and the big joys that fill your life.
Happy Mother’s Day!
Photography by the lovely and very talented Shhivika Chauhan