Wednesday, January 15, 2014

The Mother Choice

I wrote this a few years ago for a friend's baby shower.

Elizabeth Stone said that deciding to become a mother is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body.
There it is…your heart…bunched up with squishy features and ruddy skin, all rolled into a bundle. Projectile vomiting in your fresh clean sheets. Making suspicious rumbling noises right after a fresh change. Melting you every time  you look at those myopic blue-ish eyes.
I might add, choosing motherhood is choosing to have perpetually sticky floors and toilets that need to be flushed…or plunged. And to have furniture that gets puked on or alternately, used to wipe cheese puff fingers on.
Having just mopped the floor, rest assured that the red or the purple juice will spill first, followed closely thereafter by the milk. And in later years, drips of chocolate ice cream or green popsicles.
Napkins are poor substitutes for white shirts.
You will never feel more powerful than when your simple kiss heals wounds.
You will never feel more powerless than when your kiss no longer works.
Being a mother means having moments of panic when you realize you may have ruined somebody else.
You will feel triumph when your child chooses the right and does something truly compassionate.
You realize your capacity to feel pain increases exponentially with each year of your motherhood…all pain: emotional, physical, spiritual and so on
Joy floods your soul at unexpected moments, as does despair
Being a mother refines you in the fiery furnace of a breast infection or in the midst of stomach flu. You learn you are stronger than you thought you were, and weaker than you want to be. You understand that you would break laws, both legal and natural, to save your child from harm.
Choosing motherhood means stomping around the house like Frankenstein while little feet scramble away and little voices scream with happy wild abandon.
You feel exquisitely happy and your heart breaks too many times to count. But what does that matter? Your heart is no longer your own. You gave it away willingly when you decided to become a mother.

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