I don't actually know if Ellie is really hard or I just have a lot pain tolerance, but it might be a bit of both. The thing I will say is that what makes it so hard is that I want to do a good job, I want her to know she's loved, and having a kid forces you to look at yourself and heal from past experiences. In the past, I've always just maintained a very busy life so that I wouldn't have to recognize my character defects, but now that I'm a mom, and I don't work, I'm busy but I also spend a lot of time in my head. I've been forced to slow down and learn how to live in the present moment. That's actually been a very, very difficult, but also very wonderful experience. I've had a chance to look at my idiosyncrasies and reflect on how they're serving me. I've had a chance to look at some pain and heal from that, knowing that in the long run, it'll be better for my child to do so.
I don't know if it's been the extra pregnancy hormones or the fact that I know our time together is going to get cut short soon, but lately, my heart has been so full of love for Ellie. She's such a sweet and caring child, she's so curious, and she loves to make me laugh. I've never known love like this before and while it can be painful from all of the fear I feel of possibly losing her, it's broken down my walls of protection and helped me to open more as a human being. There is no way I would have ever been able to understand this level of empathy had I not had kids. To think I wasn't even sure if I wanted any, now I'm about to have my second. Life is funny that way. Maybe I subconsciously knew how much I would love these little beings and I wasn't sure I wanted to sign up for that. Every night, I thank God for the opportunity to have Ellie in my life.
Being a mother has also helped me grow a level of gratitude and understanding for what my own mother did. She raised me on her own, working two jobs to make ends meet, and dealing with a child who is as strong willed as Ellie. I can only imagine how much harder it would be to not have a supportive husband and have the fear of bringing home enough money to live. I understand the will and the drive a mother has to protect and provide for a child, and only through that can I imagine that single moms are able to keep going. What a blessing to have a mother willing to go to any length to make sure my life was as comfortable as possible.
Sometimes I think if I have to pick up one more piece of bacon off of the floor, or tell her if she puts that daggum play dough in her mouth, or whatever, I'm going to lose my mind. And sometimes I do lose my mind, then I have to apologize. But then, she lays her head on my shoulder and says mama in the sweetest voice. Or she talks about the birds. Or she likes to smell the roses in the front yard. Or she gets so excited about daddy coming home that she does a little dance. It humbles me and makes me realize that I am truly grateful, not only for m beautiful family, but for this spirited little girl and the opportunity to be with her each day, in the present moment.