This is Motherhood.
The other night I was getting The Geel into her pajamas when she grabbed a comb and insisted on combing my hair. I sat obediently on the floor and watched her concentrated expression as she tried to "tame my tresses," which are so short she basically just kept shoving the comb into my hair, twisting it around and yanking it straight up. I just stared at her face and a million thoughts ran through my head: how I hadn't really wanted her, how I had to teach myself to stop thinking about what should have been, how I tell her constantly "I love you" in what began as an effort to convince myself that I really felt it MORE THAN I felt like we made a huge mistake, how I can't imagine my life without her even though that was not the case for a long time, how she is SO sweet and loving and clever and embodies joy. Every. Day. I found myself crying.
I cried that cry that comes over you when you feel the unbridled and overwhelming love of parenthood. I cried that there were days that I denied myself that feeling for her and I cried that I can finally; honestly say that I no longer think about the life we would be living without her. Somewhere along the line, I have discovered that there is no "we" or "us" without her.
Now, I don't mean to cheapen this moment, because it was (for me) somewhat profound. I had spent a lot of days thinking about the things we would be doing if The Geel wasn't here; and to be still for a moment, watching her just be and realizing that I couldn't remember the last time I'd had those thoughts, was a pretty big moment for me. But the reason the title of this post came to mind was what happened in the next moment.
I wiped my eyes, took the comb from her and pulled her to me to hug and squeeze this beautiful little creature that had just unwittingly overwhelmed me. And then I was unwittingly overwhelmed by something entirely different: the stench emanating from her rear. While it was obvious what the issue was, it occurred to me that while I was basking in this motherly glow, crying simultaneously with small regret and great joy, that my gorgeous, wonderful, joyous baby girl was simultaneously combing my hair and dropping a deuce. I found myself laughing.
For The Geel, it was just another moment in her day filled with snacks and sippy cups, whining and tears, toys and baby dolls, giggles and silliness, and many, many hugs and kisses. Nothing profound or momentous for her--just something to do, something to explore. A comb. Mommy's hair. Another dirty diaper along the way. Babyhood.
And so this is motherhood: Overwhelmed by something profound, then the moment passes. Overwhelmed by something so much more pedestrian but requiring no less attention--and as that moment passed I was simply thankful that I had stopped to let her comb my hair before I had changed her diaper and put on her pajamas.