i don't think i really knew what sacrifice was until i became a mom. i guess i kind of thought it was like some sort of checks and balances system the universe kept and that with each sacrifice, a giant blessing was destined to fall into my path.
call me crazy, but up until ava was born and i was holding her in my arms and looking at her perfect little face, i never really thought about the "sacrifices" most moms claim. the sleepless nights, the i'll-never-get-my-body-back complex, the physical pain, the hours of crying newborn that bring you to your knees with helplessness. i never thought about that. i knew that i was sacrificing my body to bring her into this world, but that's what i wanted to do. i wanted to become a mother and so i chose to.
the reality of sacrifice didn't hit me until recently.
david came home from work the other night and i was seething. it was that kind of anger that you try to keep bottled inside because it scares even you.
i thought, "here's my husband, coming home at 11:30pm after work and he had the nerve to go out to dinner with his work buddies and wow, it must be nice to go out to dinner with your friends and without a toddler endlessly battling her highchair and throwing her french fries on the floor. and now that we're on the subject, hell it must be nice to have friends. can't remember the last time i had some of those, considering we relocate every four months. and i bet he feels so accomplished being the bread-winner in this family. i wonder what that would feel like; taking your God-given skill and developing and using it all day and getting paid for it and being all successful and then going out to dinner with the guys...wow, he's got it good and that is not fair."
so there i was, in the pajamas i had been wearing for over 24 hours, with messy mom-hair and not a stitch of makeup on, crying to my husband about how jealous i was of him because he gets to have a life outside of parenthood. something that i will probably never have. and the worst part of the whole scenario is this: there really isn't a solution.
and that is what the biggest sacrifice of motherhood is -- the never-ending-ness of it. there's never a point when you don't voluntarily lose so your baby can win. i don't think there will ever come a night that i don't stay up and think about her and worry about her and pray with all my heart that she's okay. those worldly demons will always fill my head with thoughts of what could have been with my brilliant mind and college education and a big-girl job with a salary. but i choose to stay home with her because that's what she needs and she comes first. i will continue to live in this damn hotel room and travel every summer because this job allows david to stay home with us the majority of the year and that is what's best for her.
she comes first, and she will always come first.
there's no light at the end of this motherhood tunnel; it's a sacrifice that never ends and i'd be lying to you if i said that the reality of it doesn't suck sometimes.
so why do i do this?
i don't do this just because i chose this or because it's what's expected of me or because i get to "sit pretty" at home all day. (and i will seriously punch you in the face if you ever try to say that to me.)
i continue to do this because i love my little person. i love her so much that i find myself mentioning her to strangers at any chance i get. because above anything else, being her mom is my favorite thing to be.
my mom always talks about how motherhood is an emotional rollercoaster and i never got it until i became a parent myself. there are so many highs and so many lows and all of them are so real and so deeply felt. like the pain you feel when she's hurt and you wish that you could take it away from her and feel it yourself so she wouldn't have to. the hugs that you know are her way of saying "thanks, mom" or the way she calls your name every time you're out of sight just to make sure you're there. the new words and the first steps and the tickle fights with her daddy that make you happier than you've ever been.
motherhood is a sacrifice that never ends and that's a tough pill to swallow sometimes. but hand-in-hand with that forever sacrifice comes a forever love that trumps it all.
the kind of love that makes losing okay.
the love you can only have for your someone who grew inside of your body.
the love of a mother.