Motherhood Right Now: You Are Here

The other night, when the kids were all tucked in bed, and the apartment was in complete shambles–sand was scattered all over the wood floors, moist towels on the radiators, and what remained of dinner still floating on the dinning room table–I had this intense feeling of gratitude. It was a new sense of gratitude that I think is reserved for this next grown-up kid phase of motherhood, the motherhood that comes with seven-and-a-half and four. Maybe also a motherhood that happens in the very last years of my 20s (as of last week), a decade during which I was mostly pregnant, delivering babies, or nursing them. I’ve said this before, mentioned this gratitude; but this is different. I am different. We are different. But this intense feeling, it screams, “This is who we are!” This is life: the pain, the beauty, and the warp-speed growth of the last year. In this gratitude, I don’t yearn for something I once had–for the babies my children used to be. This is who I am now, this is what life is now, and I am wholly present in it.

Parenthood can be a lot of grieving, especially watching babies take big-kid shape. And it’s good to mourn each phase as it passes, but not to the extent that we overlook the beauty of what they’re growing into. Lately, this is what I’ve noticed:  the way R’s curls have grown out to the middle of her back. Oak’s open heart surgery scar is actually the prettiest thing I’ve ever seen. And when he is alone with me, he speaks so intensely, finishing a story, stutters and all, from beginning until end. Our conversations range from how often we should wash our hands, to how my father died and if cancer is contagious. It is deep. This is what is happening in the now and my body and mind say, “LaTonya, this is who you are! This is good. Hold on.”

What else to do when it seems like the next seven months are pretty planned out? We are all hypocrites by the end of summer, saying we’re moving slow when we’re really moving fast. We’ve got school coming up, and holidays, and birthdays, and a book, and traveling. Even writing those words, I feel a stiffness creeping up through my neck, gearing up for the busyness and the speed at which time will pass. So the tears come. That night, with them in their beds and everything a mess and sobs welling up in my chest, I stopped and told myself: we’ve still got that small red spot on the map, the one that says, “YOU ARE HERE.” And sometimes “HERE” is a mess; but “HERE” is also who you are, and the chance to be grateful for that.

If you feel like you’re busy mourning what once was, I urge you to note your tiny red pin and really allow yourself to feel what it means. Sure, it is fucking hard. It means looking back and forward at the same time, almost, and that means you can see how you’ve grown, the work you’ve done, and the true depth of what life is.


8 thoughts on “Motherhood Right Now: You Are Here

  • Reply Kisha Stewart-Harris July 31, 2018 at 5:45 am

    Yes!!! I have five children, the oldest 14 and the youngest 4. I love them growing up but I sometimes look at my baby and miss the babyness in her that’s leaving. Wonderful and strange at the same time!

    • Reply latonya July 31, 2018 at 12:12 pm

      Definitely! Thanks for commenting, Kisha.

  • Reply Shah July 31, 2018 at 12:48 pm

    I reaonate with this tremendously! I have 4 children ages 9, 7, one turning three in 7 days and a 9 month old. Like, wow i feel so blessed even typing this. 4 healthy growing children, opening my world up to all the things. I too had a moment the other night while the house was still, around 9:30 pm, still yet in shambles from the circus that just went to bed. I also have been feeling a bit of anxiety about the busyness of back to school, not wanting the free flowing days of summer to end, but at the same time looming forward to routine and schedules and new projects that are brewing. Motherhood is such a treat, reminding us to be ok with being “here” in this moment, in this phase. Thank you for sharing, you gave me a minute to relate and reflect.

  • Reply Angie July 31, 2018 at 1:38 pm

    Thank you for this. My two are 15 and 11 and the fact that they are so not little anymore stuns me into tears sometimes. But it’s actually pretty great having them be these ages too and I need to not lose sight of that. Your words really hit home and I appreciate you. ❤️

  • Reply Tracey July 31, 2018 at 1:55 pm

    Yes, this is me now. House in disarray because I have a whirling derby almost 4 year old and a three month old that needs me to hold him. It’s overwhelming but so good and I want this stage to move quickly but desperately want it to slow down too. Life is pretty messy right now but the very best kind of mess.

  • Reply Miriam July 31, 2018 at 7:29 pm

    Loved reading this, so beautifully written, thank you!

    • Reply latonya August 2, 2018 at 4:41 am

      Thank you for reading!

  • Reply Tahnee August 1, 2018 at 2:39 am

    At home with my 6 month old while his sister is at kindy and some days, like today all I get “done” is a (somewhat) tidy kitchen. Tidy-ish, right until I prepare more food that is eaten and gone, leaving a mess. But I am here. And I’m learning that nourishing little ones and being where I am matters and isn’t unimportant or trivial. Thanks for the words ✌🏼

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