Saturday, May 10, 2008

On Motherhood

*Disclaimer: I am currently writing this at 12:35 am EST. I'm not sure it will all make sense in the end, but I have insomnia and needed something to do that won't wake my wonderful husband, who gets up with the kids on the weekends.*

On December 28, 2005 at 10:09 am God placed a wonderful present in my hands. Ok, it was actually Dr. McCann who did this - but she was acting as the hand of God. Kinda like the Pope, only the whole white robe thing doesn't really fly with all the grossness that is birthing children. From that moment on my life has never been the same.
I should have known from the beginning that Braxton Xavier McDaniel was going to be an interesting child. During the pushing phase of it all he decided that he had had enough of being face down and thought he'd have a look around. Yes, I pushed my kid's giant head out sideways. Once the hat was on him you couldn't really tell that the normal newborn conehead was on the side of his head instead of the top. I still thought he was beautiful, and didn't think to take the time to ponder what this kind of beginning meant for the rest of my life. This kid has never ceased to amaze me, exhaust me, teach me and test my patience - often times he does all at the same time. I wouldn't trade any of it for the world. (I know every mother says that, but it's because its true.) In one of my psych classes in college I learned that the human body is rigged to perform at its best if it gets some sort of short stressor each and every day. It supposedly keeps the "flight or fight" reflex tuned up. (The suggested stressor was to hop in a cold shower when you wake up!) I have had my fair share of tune-ups in the last 29 months. Some of the things I've been through with this kid have been incredibly frightening. His first stomach flu put him in the hospital for two nights, last summer he had sepsis, and this past fall he did a flip out of a shopping cart onto the concrete floor of Costco. (Just in case you were wondering, I take very hot showers when I wake up in the morning.) But honestly those aren't what I think of when I think how Braxton has made my life interesting. I think of how he was proud of himself when he took his first steps. I think of how excited I was the first time he slept through the night (he was 14 months btw). I think of how when he's sick he calls for mommy, and on the weekends when Mark lets me sleep in, he is so excited to see me his feet almost don't touch the ground getting to me. I think of how when I'm taking his picture he thinks he's supposed to say "smile" instead of do it and how everything lately has become "mines" or "its Braxton's". I think of the fact that I think he is one of two of the cutest boys in the universe! (I'm having a mushy mom moment here, I can totally say that.)
Then, on November 21, 2007 at 1:46 am all that interesting stuff doubled. When God (okay okay, it was Dr. Maxwell this time!) put another wonderful present in my hands. Kieran Quinn McDaniel didn't turn sideways like his brother did - he didn't really have time to, in fact. He sort of shot out like a rocket. Since I had had 23 months to ponder Braxton's beginning, I was a little worried that once Kenny had decided to come out, he did so in four half-hearted pushes. I thought to myself "Sarah, if he turns out half as crazy as his brother what are you going to do?" It didn't take me long to realize that I would probably spend one half of my life tugging my hair out by the roots, and the other half breathless from laughing too hard. Kieran is just now coming out of the "blob baby" phase as I like to call it. He rolls, or rather does this funky half-roll-scoot manuever that I find endlessly fascinating, and explores his world with a fervor that makes you understand nothing will be left untouched, unseen or unheard once he is a truly mobile being. I look forward to this. I look forward to everything that motherhood brings, even the "keep your flight or fight mechanism tune-up" moments. They teach me about myself, and the world.
I've learned that having two children means you are about six arms too short of having enough. I've learned that no matter how patient a person you are, you will always be infinitely short of what you need when dealing with a two year old.
I've learned to look at simple things and see the wonder even they can hold.
I've learned that to the people who love you, you are always beautiful.
I've learned that a person can live on cheerios, chicken nuggets and milk - as long as you're a toddler.
And I've learned that even on the most trying of days, the ending is always going to be great because it ends with a kiss.

I wrote that because I think I'm the luckiest mom in the world and generally all I have to do is look at my kids and think its Mother's day. That day that rolls around every May is just an excuse to order dessert when we go out to dinner.
However, all mothers deserve a shout out for being a mom.
So, to all the moms out there HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY!!!!! You definitely deserve it.

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