Through a sweet moment shared with my son, I felt connected to every single mother in the history of time.
The other day, I was doing what is understood to be something many loving mothers with young children in their homes do during the evening hours: making dinner for my children.
In my pajamas at four in the afternoon, I was standing at my kitchen stove, stirring a boiling pot of water and macaroni, impatiently waiting for the noodles to cook. My 9-month-old son, Wallace, had recently begun his own form of crawling, and was doing just that all over our filthy kitchen floor. Bear in mind, I was on the third day of a cold, and, on top of recently returning from a trip, two out of my three kids had pink eye. You must understand, at that point, I was desperately exhausted.
During one of my baby’s tours around the kitchen, he rounded a corner and shrieked with happy excitement to have found me! I drowsily lowered my gaze to see my adorably chubby baby perched up on one knee, his blue eyes bright with joy.
Though initially frustrated at the pitch of his scream, my heart immediately swelled with love for this little boy who lives and breathes for my attention. When my face naturally reflected my compassion, my son crawled even faster, assuming a hug was the next step in this process.
I thoughtfully watched him grapple his way up my legs and gazed at his squishy face, which pleaded with me to be held. And, as I observed the situation, I suddenly realized that almost every mother in the world has experienced this moment in one way or another.
Picture your mother standing at the stove, stirring a pot with one hand, making some variation of dinner for her family. She looks over her shoulder in response to a young child vying for her attention, while still mindlessly moving the pot’s contents. Initially frustrated by the distraction, she locks eyes with her beloved offspring, and the unconditional love the child exudes for her existence melts her heart immediately. The child comes to her leg, stares up into her face and eagerly soaks in his mother’s presence, calmly enjoying her company for a moment, before demanding a closer examination of her blouse.
What mother, through sickness and health, has not dragged her exhausted body out of bed, driven only by the instinct to feed her children? (Caffeine can only do so much sometimes.)
What mother, while managing internal struggles, has not turned to her child, preparing to scold, only to be warmed by the sight of one of her favorite sweetheart’s dashing dimples and winning smile?
No matter what her background might be, a good mother will always understand the urge to savor her child’s happiness while performing the dull and sometimes depressing tasks of motherhood.
So the next time you’re making dinner and a child crawls up your leg, remember all the other moms who have ever been in your exact situation.
And smile. You’re not alone. We are in this together.