I never knew motherhood would bring so many tears. Sure, it was assumed (acknowledged as a truth although never fully processed, funny how that seems to happen a lot when it comes to things you’ve heard about parenting) there would be plenty of tears from babies turned toddlers turned threenagers turned basically college graduates. But tears of my own? Never thought of it, really.
Indeed, I give both of my children a run for their money in the tear department. Daily, at the absolute minimum, tears of my own well up in my eyes and eventually roll down my cheek a time or two before it’s on to the next thing, and the necessity to dry it up and move along is abundantly clear.
And as we are in the absolute throws of threenagerness, an abundance of questioning follows consistently behind my trail of absolute raw emotion. Most of the time, eerily gentle, almost as if she is far older and in tune than her little 3 year old self could possibly be, comes a little whisper, sometimes accompanied by a soft touch of the hand and deep green eyes peering into my soul, it seems…. “Mama, why are you crying?”
Maybe it’s because by the time bedtime is finally near and all you want is for little eyes to close, all they want is to feel you near and be comforted by that. You are that necessary for them. And the mutuality in that is overwhelming despite your exhaustion.
Maybe it’s because today you read the obituary for a sweet little boy in your hometown, just a couple months older than your youngest, who slipped through an open gate into a pool that he didn’t know how to keep his head above water in. And you feel physically ill as you think of what those parents are going through and seriously pray to God and thank him for your blessing.
Maybe it’s because you never thought that moments of motherhood would leave you feeling so…. Lonely… Totally alone. And that more than half the time you are quite certain that you are royally screwing something or someone up.
Maybe it’s because of your quite literal heartache as you listen to one of your children cry themselves to sleep in the next room in between the cries of the baby you are rocking trying to get her to sleep. Everyone needs mommy all the time.
Maybe it’s because your proverbial cup is proverbially empty. Bone-dry. Hasn’t seen a drop of liquid in weeks.
Maybe it’s because…. shouldn’t you be enjoying this? You know one day you’ll miss this, right? You should be thankful. You shouldn’t be so stressed out all the time. One day, you’ll be crying because you miss the very thing that is making you cry right now. Because thinking or hearing all of those things are really going to help make anything better in the “now.” No, it’s just another thing to cry about.
Maybe you’re crying because your children are having to ask you why you are crying. For Christ’s sake, do you know how nerve-wracking it is NOT to totally mess up at parenting?
Maybe you’re crying because Murphy’s Law is trying to show off, and you are waving the white flag.
Maybe it’s because the unmet demands of your former career leading you to temporarily “take a break” combined with the unmet demands of your prestigious parenting title make you feel like a grade A loser. With a capital “L.”
Or maybe it’s just because of some shared blog post or viral video about with military personnel returning home from war. Not even necessarily overly happy or sad.
For me, it could be all or none of these things at any given point in time. Motherhood has left my emotions raw and unpredictable. And still each night, I recount the day’s events, pray I didn't mess things up too much, and always resolve to do better tomorrow.