When was the last time you laughed? Like REALLY laughed. The kind that comes from the depths of your belly. That makes you short of breath and causes tears to roll down your cheeks.
It happened to me yesterday. I stopped by my parents’ unexpectedly. It wasn’t planned. A simple game of dodge ball with my toddler and parents outside. That’s all it took.
In that moment, I wasn’t thinking about to-do lists or things that needed to be done when I got home. I was running and laughing.
And, it got me thinking.
We talk so much about motherhood and it’s either perfect or messy. But the truth is? It’s both. It’s all of it. The messy and the chaotic. The beautiful and the perfect.
Motherhood can bring you to your knees. It breaks you down and fills you up. It’s exhausting and uplifting. It’s wanting five minutes to yourself and then missing them the second you’re gone. It tests your patience and shows you your weaknesses. It makes you question whether you’re getting any of this right.
But it also shows you what you are made of.
It stretches you and strengthens you.
It’s a love so fierce and so unmovable that it breaks us open. It exposes us. The raw. The messy. The beautiful — all of it.
It’s laundry, so much laundry. It’s staying up late to wash uniforms. It’s packing lunches and filling out forms. It’s to-do lists a mile long and drive-thru food in the car with kids in tow. It’s homework and school projects. It’s crumbs and chaos. Scraped knees and broken hearts. It’s late-night wake-ups and midnight lullabies. It’s snuggles before bed and good morning kisses.
And it’s in the middle, in the most ordinary of moments where the truest beauty lies.
We don’t talk about it enough, but mama, it’s there. I know you see it because you are living it every single day. But, sometimes? Sometimes we miss it. Some days we get so caught it up in what we think our life should be or everything that we think it isn’t that we forget to see what’s right in front of us.
The here and now.
Do you remember the days when you wished for all of this? I do.
Look up, mama. Give yourself permission to have fun. To laugh.
Put whatever you are doing down and love on your babies. Look them in the eye. Soak them in. Your children won’t remember the perfectly planned itinerary, but they will remember the spontaneous moments. The moments where you were truly living; moments where it felt like you were the only people in the world.
It’s good morning “I love you’s.”
It’s laughter — so much laughter.
It’s campfires and s’mores.
It’s tan lines and sticky fingers.
It’s catching fireflies and picking dandelions.
It’s toothy grins through Cheerios and milk mustaches.
It’s “Itsy-Bitsy Spider” sung on repeat by squeaky little voices and dimply hands.
I know there are dishes in the sink and laundry piled high, but don’t get so caught up in the to-do lists that you forget to look up. Because these ordinary moments? They are actually quite extraordinary.
This story originally appeared on They Whine, So I Wine facebook page