It’s official. We are settling in.
Everyone said it would happen. Everyone said it would take a few weeks. And I believed. Sort of. But mostly I fretted and stressed and worried. Mostly I saw very complicated days of a newborn and a three-year-old both screaming on the way to school each morning while I tried hard to not cry with them.
But last week? Last week her tears were fewer, her screams subsided into whimpers. And our afternoons were full of school stories.
We raise our hands when we are done dinner now. Because that is what they do at school. And we push in chairs. And we sing all kinds of songs I have never heard before.
And then, at ballet class this week, she led the train into the classroom. Let me say that again. My girl. My quiet little girl who could barely see the train through her river of tears just two weeks ago, led the train of little girls in pastel and tutus into the classroom with her head held high and her smile reflected in the mirror in front of her.
This is progress. Pure, beautiful progress. We’re not through the woods yet but I can see the sun shining up ahead and I know we will make it.
And yet, still, my tears have not stopped. When I dropped her off at school, tear free, on Friday, I still felt tears welling as I drove away.
I know, I know, can’t I ever just relax and be happy? Smile! She is doing it! We are doing it! Honestly, can I blame these daily tears on pregnancy hormones?
But this push and pull of motherhood gets me every time. The bittersweet of pride and happiness like I’ve never felt before mixed with sadness and heartache – all from watching her confidently begin her march along her own path.
At its most simple, this is motherhood. Gentle pushing when you want to pull. Pulling in when they just want to push. Looking frantically for the balance between the two but finding that it isn’t really there at all. And marveling that somehow, as we continue to grow into this role called motherhood, we instinctively recognize the pushing moments from the pulling ones.
Yes, we are settling in. And it is bittersweet and beautiful and scary and amazing.
And I have a feeling my tears won’t stop flowing for a while. And there is nothing wrong with that.