In the beginning, I was hopeless.
Shell shocked and exhausted, I dragged myself through that first year of motherhood. There wasn't a single light at the end of my tunnel. I resigned myself to the fact that I just wasn't cut out for this job. That motherhood was going to be something that eluded me. I had once believed that I could be anything, but maybe anything had just one limitation, a mother. Maybe I wasn't cut out to be a mother, or the capacity to be a good one.
Somehow year one gave way to year two, and the lights flickered. The tunnel became well lit, and suddenly it gave way to hope. There was hope waiting for me on the other side. As if motherhood had created this whole new life in an entirely new world. I was different, living a different life, and hope, well, hope looked different too. Hope had taken on a new life of it's own.
I soon discovered that there was still hope for me. Hope to become a better, stronger mother. Hope that I'd right past mishaps and fumbles. Hope that I wouldn't feel like I was failing and drowning in the challenges that newly born humans present. Hope that I really could be anything, and this time that included a mother, perhaps even a good one.
It's been almost seven years since I become this new person, this woman who is "Mom". Four years since I decided to do it all over again. And here, in this spot where there are no more diapers, no more bottles, I find that I have more hope than ever. Hope that is fresh and accessible, hope that no longer looks like a stranger. Hope that is still here, for me.
So now, that the challenges are different, hope is slowly becoming a friend. A friend that is welcomed on the nights that I work late and come home to the same responsibilities of motherhood and marriage. Those nights when I don't walk in the door until close to ten and I kiss the heads of my sleeping babies. The nights when good parenting decisions escape me altogether, I know that there is still hope for me.
With every tear that is shed before eight o'clock in the morning. For every waffle left uneaten before school. For every pair of shoes we can't find, while trying to get out the door on time. I know that there is still hope for me.
For every morning where there are two kids in the bed, and the Hubbs is on the edge and I've got a foot in my face, I know that there is still hope for me.
For every chicken nugget dinner, for every McDonald's stop after work or dance, for every cookie we eat for breakfast, I know that there is still hope for me.
In my early days as a mother, I was blinded by expectation and perfection. Both of which extinguished all hope. Hope cannot live under such pressures. As I let go of what I should be and finally decided to be, hope returned. The idea that what I wanted out of motherhood, could in fact be exactly what I got out of motherhood was an amazing realization. It was also the freedom I needed to just live, and enjoy every single minute of this new life, as a mother.
Motherhood isn't perfect. And let me tell you, my life isn't perfect either. While the dark days are fewer and farther between, we still have mornings where we all cry. Morning where our shoes are lost and we have to wear our less favorites to school. Days where McDonald's cooks and bedtime is just a cute idea we had one time. On those days, I sigh, make a small promise to myself that I'll do better tomorrow, and thank God that there is still hope for me.