Before I had Aulia', before I ever met Hafiz and dimly even thought about getting pregnant myself, I would see mothers with their children out and about in shopping malls, grocery stores, parking lots, clinics, you name it, and I would catch their conversations and interactions and think to myself, 'MasyaAllah.. that mother can't even control her own kid.' or I've thought, 'that woman is acting like she is below the age of her child,' and, 'I will never react that way and say those things to my child when I am a mother.' Truly, I said and promised myself these things.
When yesterday, I found myself crossing the street with Aulia' at Taman Tasik Titiwangsa when she decided to let go of my hand, throw herself on the concrete, and kick and scream like I've never seen her before. I put my hand up to the driver waiting for us to cross to motion 'STOP' and 'thank you' and plead with her to get up and walk. My hands were full with her water, food, her doll, umbrella and my bag! After a few failed attempts to reason with or try to excite my toddler to cross the street, I scooped her up in one arm. Only she was wearing her crocs, and only she just learned how to kick. Hard. She lashes out at me so hard my entire right leg and arm give way and she falls to the ground, along with the water, doll, umbrella and food spilling out all around us. I motion to the driver once more, this time a 'SORRY!' and realize there are now three more cars behind her.
I pick up all her snack, umbrella and doll with one hand and some sort of instinctual mom ninja move with the other, which consist of a quick arm around her middle, carrying her sideways while she screams and cries, legs and crocs lashing out into the thin air behind us. I am sick, my muscle hurt, I am tired and sweating, and I have fresh snot streaming down my own face from an awful sinus infection with no free arm to wipe it away. Dang!!
But we make it across the street. And the driver's are shaking their heads in frustration and disdain as they pass and turn by us. True story, and I'm embarrassed. But any mother, even the most loving, kind-hearted, patient, and Mother Teresa of all mother will tell you: motherhood is hard work. Some days, are just hard. Motherhood is really not for the weak. It is not for the tired. And it is certainly not for the lazy.
Your child will hit, kick, slap, and bite you. They will poke you deep in your eyeball because they think it's funny. They will throw a Lego block square at your mouth from a foot away because they don't understand. They will back slap you across the face in the middle of the night just as you fell into a rare, coveted, deep sleep. They will step on and break your laptop. They will scream at the top of their lungs at you in the middle of the street, in the middle of Tesco, in the middle of Gymboree class, and of course when you're on an important phone call. That same child will keep you up all night, because they don't feel like sleeping in the buaian all alone, and because they have the fine luxury of taking naps during the day. And you will be waking up for the day no later than 3 hours from when they finally go back to bed, with a migraine and eye bags!
But even after all of that has occurred, and it's typically that the events described above will all happen within the same 24 hours-but the same day- you will hear your child call you "ibu" for the first time. your. heart. will. melt. Your darling baby will hold onto your legs as you let her to the ground and refuse to let go of you. She will see you the second you arrive to pick her up from childcare with the biggest, brightest, most excited eyes, and run to you and hug you. She will laugh hysterically at you when you jump out and scare her or when you do something quirky and think you're the most clever joker in the whole world. She will look up at you with concerned eyes for encouragement or discipline when she's not sure if she should do something. She will give you a kiss. A big, fat, beautiful kiss right square on your lips. She will have you lay down together on the bed, motion and say 'shhhh' to you, out her blankie near your face, gently pat your head and try to put you to sleep the exact way you do to her. And all this will make you forget all the crap they put you through earlier that day.
My little one is turning 1 year, 8 months old this month. Our time together has truly flown by at the speed of light. I am amazed that we've all survived this long with no major hiccups because sometimes, it's been really, really hard. But that's exactly the thing- the hardest things in life are the most rewarding. No matter how bad it gets, and it does get bad, it s also amazing. absolutely amazing. And at the end of every day, I am always, always grateful for my child. For who she is, for who she is growing up to be, and for who she makes me. I never knew how strong I could be. I didn't know the capacity I have for not giving up or taking the easy way out. I never knew my capacity for true, unconditional, self-sacrificial love and I never knew how big this feeling of love and protection could be. It is simply overwhelming and it is truly indescribable to be someone's mother and to feel those thousands of feeling every single minute of every single day.
And this love is enough to get us through the hard.
Thank you for everything you've given me. You are loved so very, very much. (Even when you're a little stinker).