There was both compassion and shock as I saw her glancing my way. Her eyes emitted the song of weariness, blinking as if each small movement took all of the energy in the world. Her shoulders slumped over and the expression on her face seemed to say “I expect nothing: terrible or grand”. In that moment, she was simply surviving. Not in the way a homeless person or a soldier survives. Of course not. In the way a tired old rocking chair survives: waiting for the next body to slide into its open seat, to rock its heart out until the body relaxes, hoping its spindles and runners hold up amidst the squeaking, and then to later sit empty and still, watching the world around it cruise on by. It does nothing extra.

Perhaps the chair is lucky enough to be placed on a wide, wooden-planked porch overlooking verdant hills and frolicking wildlife. Maybe it will be moved next to an open window, lace curtains blowing with the gusts of honeysuckle spring-time wind, as a mama and baby occupy its sturdy seat. Or you never know, it could be refinished and refined and set in a city loft among other chairs (like this one), soaking in the redolent beat of it all: the cat-calls of construction workers and the incessant honking of cabs.

And this is my point. Just as I’ve managed to ramble off-topic with my bad analogy about rocking chairs, so I seem to amble a bit aimlessly through the past few weeks.

But that woman? She was my reflection, as seen in the drive-through window of Boston Market. Noticing myself propped at the leather wheel of a mini-van, waiting lustfully for a plastic bag full of round cartons of mashed potatoes and macaroni-n-cheese, made me realize yet again: I am SUCH a Mom. My reflection was startling; viewing myself encapsulated in this moment, realizing two tiny bodies (that I was responsible for!) were strapped in car seats in the back singing songs and giggling, waiting for my $2.54 in change and wondering anxiously just how far I could stretch that “jackpot”. This was after a day in which the following items were the only sustenance coursing through my body: 2 donuts, 4 slices of cheese, and said Boston Market goods. Oh, and a brownie that I shoved in my mouth while Kaia wasn’t looking.

It was a MOMent; a moment in which you are hit over the head with the realization that you are a Mom.

MOMents usually come on without advance warning and typically leave you either giggling, crying, or sighing. They are heavy and full, they are airy and light, they are rancorous and stifling. And they always remind me of the biggest, baddest, and best sacrifice I’ve ever made. Even in all of my shlumpy, grumpy, and sugary-high/crash glory, I am left grateful for the two little guides who have rocked my world. And the chorus I’ve heard so many times continues to ring in my ears “You will remember these as the best of times, the best of times, the best of times…”

Here are my “favorite” recent MOMents. What are yours?

  • Lifting my shirt to reveal a sandwich-sized rash near my hip from where my dry, desert-winter skin has been rubbed raw by Indigo’s favorite riding position.
  • Finding myself holding a fork of steaming mashed potatoes up to the A/C vent of my MINI-VAN to cool them off for Kaia. Yes, I did this while driving. Don’t even lie; you’ve all done something just as – ahem –“interesting” while driving.
  • Circumnavigating Kaia’s temper by carrying on entire conversations in SONG.
  • Taking a bath with Indi and proclaiming “Owwww, please don’t pull my hair”.  And I’m not talking about hair on my head.
  • Realizing that I have brow-furrowing wrinkles AND smile lines. That right there, that juxtaposition is what being a Mom is all about.
  • Noticing that my step-mom and I were both wearing the same exact pair of pants from Wal-Mart. On her, they are cute and practical. On me, they are the Queen of All Mompants: waistband sitting literally right under my boobs, but successfully covering The Pouch of Expansion. Oh, and they have a stretchy waistband necessary for additional bloating and more-than-occasional consumption of sugary confections.
  • Sharing Gummy-Vites with my daughter*.
  • Feeling effin’ rich for having $20 in my wallet.
  • Knowing that a majority of my “conversations” include the phrase “IF/THEN”…
  • Being a recipient of Kaia’s increasing comprehension of language, of logical, of emotion, of creativity. My heart melting after visiting with friends and hearing her say with simple joy “Mama, that was SO MUCH FUN. I had such a good time”.
  • Taking time to organize my clothes in the following manner: Skinny-Minny’s, Maternity, and Big Mama. Having three wardrobes is mind-boggling but totally necessary.
  • Participating in our weekly “Auntie Anne’s Pretzels” ritual at the outlet mall. Me and the girls drive with the windows down, breeze blowing our collectively wispy hair, and sit at the tables contently chomping on our fresh-baked, buttery pretzels o’goodness with giddy smiles. Yeah, I even let Indi in on the action.
  • Feeling HOT simply because I slid a red leather cuff bracelet over my wrist and managed to squeeze into an Wet Seal t-shirt paired with pre-baby jeans. Note: The Pouch of Expansion was under control but dying to erupt over the waistband at my first bend.
  • Traveling alone with Indi for 5 days to visit dear friends. Soaking up her quickly fading babyness and her ever-present glee. Having a Dad stop me in the airport and comment – in a moment of bonding – “Is that a Moby Wrap? I love those things, I carry my daughter around in it everywhere…”
  • Being a witness to Indi’s bedtime soothing ritual (humming, nursing, stretching, babbling, rubbing a blanket) as I snuggle her close.
  • Feeling totally okay with maxin’ and relaxin’ in bathwater after my kid has peed in it.
  • Overusing CAPS in my writing because certainly NO ONE would EVER be able to understand the depth and urgency of MOMents without them.

*let’s just forget for now that they include gelatin.


13 Comments Add yours

  1. Chelsea says:

    You must have read my mind as I have been thinking about my undeniable mommyhood recently – two recent MOMents of mine:
    *Driving home from the grocery store and passing a group of pre-teens leaving school. Young, happy, carefree, backpack wearing girls laughing and talking and I can SOOOO remember those days like it was yesterday- but then I realized my kids are closer to their age than I am now and I realized just how OLD I am, and I am a MOM and I will never be young and carefree again….
    *Waiting at the airport for my flight home from visiting my family – Rosie was running around, burning off energy, and Sam started laughing and crawling after her and they continued to chase each other back and forth – and I watched my kids – both laughing and actually playing with each other for the first time and I thought my heart would burst from the love I felt at that moment.

  2. sarahwg says:

    Wow…so many that made me think “yeah, me too!” Thanks for sharing all of your MOMents. You rock.

  3. Brandy Roth says:

    Wow. Just stumbled here and had to laugh and cry and generally identify with this post! I’m wasting my free afternoon – via play date and nap time – reading blogs and such, but yours was worth it. I’ll check back for no other reason than to be reminded I am not alone in this glory.

  4. This was SO perfect. I loved every word.

    For me, it’s being invisible – walking around in the city and expecting that buzz, that energy from young, scruffy, hot guys – not that I was much before, but I was female, and I had long hair, and that seems to be enough to at least inject some spark into the day.

    But not anymore. How you saw your reflection? I know exactly what you mean. Being out and thinking I am who I was – then seeing my reflection in the complete disinterest of aformentioned young, scruffy, hot guys.. like I’m not even there.

    My BFF Lauranne described the same thing – mentioned a time she jaywalked across a street in front of a Y.S.H.G. and instead of just checking her out as any healthy, attractive guy would check out any healthy, attractive gal he just honked at her, and yelled “Hey Lady, move it!”. She was totally depressed for a few days after that.. and I know exactly what she means.

    I think this is why we all gravitate to each other, lust after nights with other mamas and stiletto kitten heels and pretty clothes and makeup almost more than we lust after a date night with husbands. To give that energy to each other, to fake it until we make it, and to drink a little, and just feel female again, amped up by mutual osmosis.

    Daaaamn, does that ever make me want to take an AZ vacation. Sigh.

  5. leigh lear says:

    this was great, i laughed outloud at the hair pulling, it’s even more interesting when it’s your son asking where your penis is. i have to say i defninetely had one of these MOMents, recently when i went to an interview and thought, I haven’t even interviewed for a job in 8 years, let alone worked with other adults, what was i thinking. it’s okay to stay at home, even when your youngest is about to start school five days a week.

  6. isabel says:

    I’ve had these moments too.
    And they are strange. And sometimes wonderful.
    It is still disorienting to me, as if I forget how the world sees me. And also it is comfortingly reassuring, that somehow I have become the mom I always wanted.

  7. clmama says:

    Awesome, totally great post. I think I’ve been so on overdrive lately I haven’t picked up my MOMents whilst in the fire, so to speak. But yesterday at Starbucks, alone and working on my laptop, I had that strange, lately frequent, feeling of appearing to others so what I’m not. I think working, even part-time, has helped me release some of my inner-Mama and replace with a sliver of my old self. Now granted, I work remotely, so it’s not like I have an office to retreat to, wear short skirts or heels or carry a trendy leather bag. But the outlet has been a good one for me; it’s all too ironic when, after three hours of the awayness and workingness that I start to wonder about my babes back home, and want more than anything in that moment to race home and sit on the floor with them.

    Tonight I am going out for a beer with my husband for my upcoming 33rd birthday. It’s an old Irish Pub, one of our favorite pre-everything days (read: when we still lived in an apartment, fancy free and broke to the gills). I am so looking forward to it. Tomorrow night, a group of my best friends are getting together to celebrate, no kids allowed. And next Saturday, I’m off to Chicago to visit my college best friend for the day – solo. All this alone-time is only doing one thing for me: making me love my life even more, MOMents and all.

    *And yes, dearest Leigh, I’ve so done that whole cool-the-food-off thing with the car, except you can replace the potatoes with Starbucks hot chocolate for my two year old. Sickening, I know.

  8. Joanna says:

    Oh, and Leigh – that was my post above. I have a wordpress account and my tag name is ‘CLMama’ on that account :).

  9. Megan says:

    Wonderful post, Leigh.

    My MOMents, off the top of my head:
    1) Being in the tub with Sofia when, immediately after saying to hubby, “I hope she never poops in here with me”, she lets out a floater. So gross.
    2) Coming to terms with the fact that I had to invest in a couple of good pairs of Size 10 jeans, cause the sixes I have packed away from pre-baby jeans, aren’t gonna fit anytime soon.
    3) Realizing that when I go shopping, I pretty much am only looking for stuff for Sofia. In fact, about 95% of what I buy goes straight to her. I’m thinking about just moving her stuff into my closet, because hers is stuffed with clothes, and mine has about 5 things hanging on my side.
    4) Looking at my disgusting hair, and realizing that I haven’t even bothered getting my hair cut or colored since December (4 months!) and still not being motivated enough to make the appointment!

    I miss you! Let’s talk soon!!

  10. sarah says:

    I love that post…

  11. Dad says:

    I know, I know…this is girl stuff….

    …..but as a dad(Leigh’s) who watched her and her friend(Megan) grow from gangly, teenie-boppers, crazy over the NEW KIDS ON THE BLOCK, to lovely, young women, professionals and now mamas…..I say “GO GIRLS,….THESE ARE THE BEST YEARS OF YOUR LIVES!!

    Love you,


    P.S. Pretty soon 40 year old guys will think you are HOT and the BUZZ starts all over again!!

  12. Megan says:

    Awesomely enough, I had another MOMent as I wrote my previous comment. December to March is 3 months, not 4!!! Duh! I knew I was a mom when I lost the ability to perform simple arithmetic! 🙂

  13. Rebekah says:

    Oh Leigh, reading your Dad’s comment somehow made me feel SO much better. I am in such a Mom funk, and I think it’s because I’m not being satisfied with the beautiful, blessed life I have RIGHT NOW. Sure, I could lose a few pounds and it might be fun (for a little while) to be footloose and fancy-free like I was when I was single. But the truth is, THIS is wonderful. It’s hard, definitely. But that doesn’t mean that it isn’t GOOD. Yep, the hardest thing I’ll ever love so much in my life.

    Hey, love those CAPS! =)

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