In the beginning we are attracted by the beauty of the babies. Their perfectness draws us to them, and our God-given, mother-sense kicks in. As newborns we soak in their softness and their scent. What mother does not lay her face in the infant hair to absorb the aroma and feel overwhelming mother-love for this little bundle of perfection?
Fast forward 18 months and we realize that the soft, sweet-smelling stage came and went and we are left with rough, stinky and....well, lets face it....sometimes just plain evil.
Everything we envisioned motherhood to be falls away and reality takes over. That could be why so many mothers cannot remember those years when questioned later by those same children.
"What was I like, Mom?"
Uuummm...Cute, I guess. Yes, I know you were cute.
"But what was my first word?"
I'm pretty sure it was Mama. Yes, that's right...quite sure it was Mama.
"What did I like to do?"
Well, you liked to...play.
On a very clean, quiet day sometime during your childhood we sat and calmly looked at books and we smiled and laughed and could have been in a beautiful picture on someone's wall.
[Oh, don't be silly....you liked to play in poo. Paint doornobs with desitin. Smash flies on the window. Jump in mud and smear it on my steps. Paint the table with spaghetti sauce. Eat dried up "raisins" from the rabbit cage. Flush all the clean toilet paper down the toilet until it plugs, but leave piles of used TP lying around the toilet. You liked to play with bugs/worms and creatures of all disgusting types. Yes, its coming back to me now.]
No, it doesn't take long into our journey of motherhood to realize that the beauty we love can easily become buried beneath the reality of motherhood. The perfection we long to create for ourselves and our families is missing, and we suffer with guilt.
Maybe, just maybe, the beauty isn't as far away as it might seem. Maybe, in the midst of the stinky, disgusting life of a mother are moments more beautiful than words can express.
During the muck of life, those children bond to us in ways that they will never bond with another human being. There is no one else that will go through the stinky parts of life with them and love them still.
An unexpected hug, a quick uplift of eyes full of appreciation, a moment of quiet with just two and a story....these cannot be measured. They cannot be planned. They can only be experienced.
That is my beauty.
"Lord, open my eyes to the beauty of being a mother. Please don't allow me to be so distracted with the ugliness of life that I miss the unbelievable beauty all around me. Thank you for all that being a mother means. Thank you for my children."