I love being a mom, but I sometimes forget that during the really hard parts. I don't forget that I love them, I forget that motherhood is one of the greatest, most wonderful works of life. It does not always feel like that when you're in it, that's for sure. At 3AM, I was awakened by my little girl puking into our bed. It is hard to remember how much you love anything when you are being puked on. Before she hit our bed, though, she somehow managed to wander into our mud room where a bag with a new dress that I had just bought was sitting. She puked right into that bag, with incredible aim and precision, before she found us - a little present that sat waiting for me until I found it later.
I cleaned everything, set up a new spot for her with a bucket in our family room with my husband, and got in the shower. When I got out, the snow was falling fast outside.
Our phone rang then telling my husband that he should head over to see his mom, that it was the end.
I texted my own mom to ask her to come when she woke, to tell her I had one puker and two boys I was going to try to keep from getting the pukes. Even if it has never once worked, I have to pretend to try to limit the puke; it just makes me feel better. Of course my mom came, the way every good mother does the minute she's asked.
This dance of mothers coming and going, helping and nursing, being helped and being nursed, was such a beautiful lesson on life, all in one day. All different stages represented, all doing our best for our kids in whatever ways we are each able.
I watched in the room as everyone in my husband's family said the sweetest good-byes to his mom. It was so, so beautiful. At the very end, it was all of her children and my father-in-law cheering her on, loving her on to the finish line. Can you even imagine the beauty of that? I hope so. Can you even imagine all of your babes and all of the people you love around you cheering you on into the next space? "Go, Mom! We love you so much! We'll miss you so much, but we know it's time! Go ahead! We love you! Watch over us! We love you!" There are nine of them, plus their dad, so there was not a quiet moment as she passed on to the other side. She was literally loved right on out. What a way to go.
She was there for all of them at some point, getting puked on at 3AM. NINE TIMES OVER - sweet Jesus. And so, there they all were, each of them saying good-bye in their own magical way. Her husband, prayerful and steadfast beside her.
Nothing else mattered but the love. And that's because nothing else matters but the love. The love is the whole ballgame.
For those of us with children, our love for them and our ability to be available for them is the great work of our lives. For those of us with spouses, the love we have with them is the greatest work, too. For those of us who've chosen to be or who just are alone, still, it's all about the love you can give in the world. That's it.
If we have kids, it can feel confusing because they aren't ours per se; we can't use them to fill the cracks in ourselves. Except they do, even still. What in the world?
I don't really know what - all I know is when I leave this world, I hope my babes are all around me, cheering me on, loving me on into the next beautiful place.
I did, in fact, hug everybody more today. I did, in fact, make it count today. With red eyes and cracked voices, my husband and I loved our puking and non-puking babies the same as we always do, but also a little more. I loved my mom the same, but also a little more. And everyone loved Pat's mom the same and a lot more as she took her last breaths with us here. They loved her as she loved them, and now the love lives on forever because it gets passed and passed and passed. And that's the way the love goes around. And, the world, too.
Footnote: Sometimes people message me because they are worried for me that I am not cognizant of others' privacy when I tell a story. I am overly cognizant and overly cautious with what I share. It is super likely that I will make mistakes at times, but I continually try my best to err on the side of respectfulness always. That means, if a piece clearly references another person's private moments, I always check with the other person before publishing. That also means that I don't share everything. Further, it means that if I want to tell a story bad enough, I find a way to tell it without clearly identifying people. Lastly, sometimes people think I'm writing about them when I'm just not. You know, you probably think this song is about you -- well, guess what? It's probably not.
Anyways, you can bet that my father-in-law read this piece before I hit publish. Because he's the boss.
Pass on some love somewhere today. I know you've got some to give somehow; we all do.
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