As my son squealed with excitement and wriggled in a happy dance/hopping session shouting, “I’m three years old! I’m three years old!” I smiled the biggest smile at how much pure, sweet joy a little person can feel. That feeling is a distant memory, but having a child reminds me it exists and a little spark of it flashed in my own eyes.
And then, I told him he had a birthday present to open. When the box was revealed his eyes grew big, his lips pursed, and he became serious about his excitement. Whenever something awesome happens (like eating chocolate fudge for the first time) he gets very focused.
“Open the box.” He instructs.
I do as I’m told.
“Take out the pieces. Let’s do it together.” His voice starts to tremble.
I assembled the hot wheels launcher, track, and loop, showed him how it worked, and stood back. The first time the little car shot out, looped upside down, and flew across the room he laughed, ran after the car, and shouted, “Again!” There is nothing like hearing your child laugh.
The first year with my son was unimaginably hard. As I described the level of sacrifice that left me barely standing and a shadow of myself to a wonderful spiritual guide, he said, “sounds like this is your karma yoga.” Selfless service. I was losing my self and certainly my whole life had become about serving another – my son. He opened my eyes to seeing the sacrifice as a beautiful thing.
It’s been a challenge, trying to continue to see the hardship as joy, but a very important practice as the years go by and hardships mount one on top of the other. I continue to struggle to see the giving as selfless as my ego wants to engage in the world and be “me” again. I give and I give because I am incapable of doing anything else. I love, therefore I give.
I thank motherhood for giving me the experience of feeling the deepest, most powerful, even overwhelming love on the planet – a love unlike any other. A love that holds great responsibility and never ends.
I thank motherhood for what it has taught me about my own mother and the deep sacrifices she has made for her children, the suffering she endured, and the ability she has to be joyful in it and embrace reality, moving forward as positively as she can.
I thank my mother for mothering me forever, through it all, and still on my own son’s third birthday.
I thank my son for inspiring me and for loving me with the purest, sweetest, cuddly wuddly love.