*Thank you to Viktoriya Magid for this guest post about the fleeting moments in motherhood!*
Motherhood and change: do you wish it or fear it?
Itʼs likely, both. How long has it been? A few months? A year? Five? A slow ever-so-noticeable increase in speed; slow enough to not pay attention as its happening, and now Iʼm racing at 90 miles per hour, down what used to be a calm lazy river of my childhood and youth and what has now turned into swift rapids, going non-stop, racing down the stream, scenery flashing by, all a blur. This or that face, this or that word.
“How are you?”
“Yeess!” Iʼm yelling to someone who is already far behind me, my Southern politeness automatically taking over.
Who was that? I didnʼt get a good look. . . someone I forgot? Someone I havenʼt yet gotten to know? Faster. Midnight feedings, toddlers in bed, 5 am wakings, meltdowns of kind
boys, strong boys, full of energy boys . . . sweet boys.
Slowing down, here it is. Little round cheeks next to my face . . . ears that are sticking out ever so cutely. . . “I love you, mama” in an almost deep voice of a six-year-old boy, as the bedroom door closes . . . a big hug and a kiss on the lips from my three-year-old. Okay. This was good. This was it. This was my pause. Purposeful attention, mindfulness.
But itʼs all slipping away, sand through my fingers, not enough pictures, not enough notes. Itʼs hard to be mindful when youʼre in the middle of it all . . . diapers, fights, tantrums. Itʼs hard to slow down when youʼre already late everywhere you go and already seem to accomplish so little during the day!
. . . my darling oldest boy, what did your laugh sound like when you were three, like your brother’s? Why didnʼt I save a lock of your hair? My sweet third son, will I remember the sticking-out ears five years from now? Will I remember that happy hips dance you do when youʼre excited?
A certain panic sets in.
A certain fear of missing, of forgetting, of losing something important.
Breathe . . . breathe. . . itʼs okay to forget . . . itʼs okay to let go . . . itʼs okay to . . . Pause.
Change is scary, yet change is necessary.
As a mom, I both welcome and fear change. I have both wishes and hopes for my three sons that are only possible with the passing of time, yet I desperately donʼt want to let go of their innocence, their babyhood . . . change is scary. As soon as we master a developmental stage, itʼs gone, and new uncharted territory is here to challenge us yet again. Itʼs exhausting. Itʼs terrifying. Yet, embracing this change can result in the greatest, most important personal growth we can achieve as moms.
Letting our boys and girls grow up, without pushing them or holding them back, much like we allow a flower blossom without pulling on its stem or covering it to stunt its growth: Simply by watering it and loving it and allowing it to blossom at its own pace. Thatʼs the greatest challenge. To get out of the way and yet to provide fertile ground and a sunny spot . . . to take care, yet not to interfere… and in order to know whatʼs needed, we have to slow down sometimes.
Sometimes, we have to just be, long enough as to have an understanding of who they are
and what they need . . . these flowers. Will I remember your smile? The way you wave your arms in excitement? The way you say your first words or dance your first dance? I donʼt know. I doubt it. And that too is okay.
But I will pause, and Iʼll simply be here now . . . Iʼll just be here now.
About the Author
Viktoriya Magid, Ph.D., is a clinical psychologist who lives and practices in Mount Pleasant. She was born and raised in Ukraine and has been living in the United States since the age of 18. Since she obtained her doctorate in psychology from the University at Buffalo, she has completed her internship at MUSC in 2008 and has been living in Charleston ever since. She has three sons, ages seven, four, and two, and has been married to her husband for 11 years. She has little free time for hobbies, but her passion is writing, which she does when not in her private practice or with her family.