At the time, we think we’re in the middle of hell. But what if those moments of total overwhelm are actually the best parts of all?
We used to call it ‘the train’.
Five deliberate steps forward, five deliberate steps back, shushing like a train with each step. It was the only way we’d get her to sleep, and I would do it for hours a day. Literally, hours. Back and forth, my mind screaming with outrage that this was my life, all the while shushing and shushing and shushing.
I think of that time now, and unbelievably, I feel nostalgia.
Not to be back there again – god, never! – but for that moment in time. That moment when I was learning how to be a mama, and she was learning how to be in this world. We were raw, the two of us, together. Both cracked open, both in totally new territory, both completely and utterly unsure of what we were doing.
Days melted into weeks into months. There was nothing else but her. And me. My own undoing, and redoing. It was the beginning of the new beginning, and there is something wonderful about that.
In my world of routine and school drop offs and housework and deadlines, that bubble of time seems wonderful now. I was in the midst of so much growth, learning a brand new language in a country I’d never been to before. It seems exotic somehow now, like a time in my life I travelled overseas without a hotel booked at the other end. I didn’t know where the hell I was going, and I knew I couldn’t turn back, so I just had to dig deeper than I’d ever dug before, and find my courage.
Courage. Strength. And so much resilience.
I miss that.
Life now can feel same same. It can feel like another term begins, and we’re back on the well-worn path again. Monday flows into Sunday and another birthday comes round. I know I’m growing – growth never stops – but that raw, vulnerable space of deep courage? Is it even possible to miss something so painful?
We certainly don’t know it at the time, but those moments of cracking open are the best bits. It is in those times we see glimpses of our true selves – and it’s certainly not pretty. It’s hot and messy and loud, and there’s almost always ugly tears. But oh the insights into our souls. And the clarity of what is important. Social media is pushed to the side, what so and so said three years ago is forgotten. We’re in the trenches of life, and we’ll do what we have to just to survive.
There’s beauty there. If we’re willing to see it.
Because life is about the messy growth. It’s taken me years to realise that. Whilst we THINK we may want a life of normalcy and consistency, the cycle of expansion must include the hands in the mud bit too. And isn’t that what this juggle of mamahood and life is all about?
Plunging us back into the mud.
I know that one day, I will look back at all the messy moments, and long to be back in them. I know that there will always be a sense of wonder when I view, from afar, what we went through and how we went through it. I may cringe at the memory of how I stumbled, and how messy it really was, but I’ll know –
those were the best bits.
That’s when I was alive, and growing.
That’s what it’s all about.