Our little family is moving house in the near future. There are pros and cons to this, most of which I’ll not be aware of until moving time comes. I don’t know where we’ll be next, but the change in itself is inevitable. And because things will change I’ve been trying to be intentionally mindful and appreciative of the things I enjoy about where we are now – friends and family that live close; great local parks; a bath tub; our most excellent housemate and his most excellent dog; a lovely kitchen with a dishwasher and a matching cutlery set owned by said excellent housemate; and did I mention the bath?
I am currently sitting in my almost one-year old son’s room, curled up on his rocking chair, with his heater powering through the cold chill in the air. His breathing gently breaks into a weirdly adorable child-snore every six or seven breaths; he mumbles gibberish in his dreaming, while reaching out a sleeping hand to fumble for his dummy in the dark. The same piano gospel lullabies he’s listened to every night since birth are chiming gently through the spluttering of the warm vaporiser, while traffic rumbles around on one of the main roads in what seems like a million miles from the stillness here.
Recently my son Jackson and I were taking advantage of an unseasonally warm Sunday afternoon with one of his favourite activities; water play in the backyard. I watched, bemused, as he entertained himself with endless pouring from cup to bucket to water table, then back up into the cup to continue the cycle. The water mesmerizes him. He can play with water for hours, soaking himself from head to toe until he begins to shiver violently, and even then he screams in protest when I bundle him up in a soft towel and carry him inside to recover in a warm bath.
Motherhood for me was a re-birthing into a self and a world that I couldn’t have predicted.
It is a world where everything has added significance, an importance beyond the immediate. I feel the weight of my mistakes heavier but the joys lift me higher than ever before. Even my skillset; that that in which I am strong I become stronger and that that in which I am weak becomes blaringly obvious.
I have been a mother for just over 6 and a half years. You would think that by now I have sorted through my thoughts and emotions about the biggest project I have ever undertaken. That by now I would feel confident in this enormous role and that I would be able to easily tell you what exactly motherhood means to me.
Being vulnerable is gross. I always thought I was good at being open, and honest, and vulnerable to those I loved. And sometimes, even to those I didn’t love. I often would put my whole self on the line, without regard for my protection, so that people could trust me, be open with me and ultimately, love me for who I actually was. I got tired of surface level friendship and this was the best way I knew how to push past it. Sometimes vulnerability paid off in true friendship; sometimes I walked up to the edge of a cliff without a harness and people took turns pushing me off.