how it started
I grew up in a house full of babies. People would refer to me as a "built in babysitter." But my mom never made me feel that way. She would ask me if I could help. So would give me space to volunteer. She let me love my baby brothers on my own, and I did. I fell in love with the smell of their tiny heads. And with their little hands. I marveled at their paper thin, perfectly shaped fingernails.
Looking back now, I can see that I simultaneously fell in love with watching her. The way she chose them. The moment by moment choice to be their home. The moment by moment work of being a tiny human's source of comfort, nutrition and wholeness. It was stripped down and raw and not at all glamourous. And I was hooked.
She would ask me to keep my eldest younger brother (shown here just after his birth.) I'd oblige so she could run an errand, or inevitably linger longer at the store. (I get it now.)
The second that garage door would close, he would cry. I would try everything I could, but mostly to no avail. I remember feeling like it was magic, the way it was her that soothed him. How he just needed her. How she was the comfort he craved. How magnetic they were together. This dance of need and need met.
Maybe I loved the way I saw her hard work pay off. In the moments of joy on her face. It wasn't that there wasn't struggle or sacrifice. It was that she had decided it was worth it. And every day she gave what she had to give. She was not perfect. And I know now that I fell in love with that too. The imperfection of being the whole world to someone and still being a self. It was complex and so beautiful.
I crave the real and the flaws. The notion of perfection bores me. Give me the truth. I think this must be where this started for me. Because beauty is most acutely seen after hardship. And if that isn’t what motherhood is, I don't know what is.
I was 11 here. This is the picture of the first time I sat shoulder to shoulder with a nursing mother.
New parent educator | Growing family consultant | CLC | Forever cheerleader