There is a poem I stumbled upon some time in the past, credited to an Anne Campbell, that explains well what it's like to be a mother:
"You are the trip I did not take, you are the pearls I could not buy,
you are my blue Italian lake, you are my piece of foreign sky.
You are my Honolulu moon, you are the book I did not write,
you are my heart's unuttered tune, you are a candle in my night.
You are the flower beneath the snow, in my dark sky a bit of blue,
answering disappointment's blow with 'I am happy! I have you!'"
I so wish I could say I was the author of these words. They are more true than they are beautiful. There are a million paths I could have taken with my life, and I must admit, a million daydreams I still hold. I have imagined a thrilling career in journalism in a big city, a creative artist's life or even spending my days behind a chair at a salon creating beauty. I've contemplated traveling the world or starting non-profit organizations to serve those in need. Maybe some of these things wait me in the future, but none of it would hold any meaning without you. Being your mother is my greatest and truest joy. There is no sacrifice too great to fill that role.
Motherhood comes with sacrifice beyond the obvious. For me, it is sometimes fraught with anxiety and depression. Some days are a real battle fighting to maintain inner-peace and perspective. I struggle with wrapping my mind around my new physical identity and the lack of control that comes with motherhood. The lack of routine and sleep takes a real toll on me. I have had to discover creative ways to keep myself sane with you by my side, but we are hitting our stride. Every day provides us a new opportunity to learn and try again.
Now that we're six months into your life, I'm not the only one with anxiety. You've discovered that Mom still exists even when I'm not in sight: It's separation anxiety at it's finest. Truthfully, it's both cute and exasperating. When I'm feeling most anxious, it helps me to meditate on my identity as a daughter of God. Knowing "whence I came, and whither I go," like in John 8:14, fills me with peace and purpose. God is aware of both me and you. Though you won't always lose your mind when I'm out of sight, you may some day need a reminder to whom you belong to help lead you on your path. Always remember you are loved by both your earthly and heavenly parents.
My sweet girl, it seems on my darkest days you are there with a shining reminder that you are worth it all. One sleepy morning we both fell asleep while nursing in the bed. I woke up some time later to you batting at my lips with your delicate, tiny hands. When I opened my eyes you were grinning at me. It dissolved every frustration and made my heart soar. I love you, my pearl. "I am happy! I have you!"
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