After a brief, holiday inspired break, Growing Together is back today!
Nicole is one of those bloggers I had kept running into on other people’s blogs. One day I finally moseyed over to her place and was taken with the way she weaves her story. And then when I realized all that she does – work full time, run, write, mama, I was amazed. And I couldn’t stop reading her stories and breathing in the grace with which she does her thing. Nicole also does some group contributor post and her Spring Cleaning one is one of my favs.
Today, I am so honored that she is here with a beautiful story about growing pains. Enjoy and then head on over to Work in Sweats Mama for more of Nicole!
Startled out of a deep sleep, I wake to the sound of my oldest crying.
Mommy, my legs hurt.
After whispered reassurances and a dose of Children’s Tylenol, I kiss my daughter. I tuck her long limbs back under the covers.
The growing pains no longer surprise me.
After another year of watching my daughters change and grow, the signs are undeniable.
Painted toes flirt with the edge of sandals.
Hems that once kissed knobby knees now skim sun-bronzed thighs.
No longer forced to compete with chubby cheeks, a single dimple stands out.
One strides toward age 5 and kindergarten. The other rushes headfirst into terrible twos.
I kiss invisible boo-boos. I wipe away tears. I tell them the aches and pains, the bumps and bruises, are just a part of life.
Yet, more than ever, I feel the sometimes tender, often agonizing, tug on my heart.
My own growing pains.
The moment I welcomed my first into this world, I felt my heart overflow, my existence magnified in ways I never knew possible.
I looked to my husband and knew we would never be the same. A love greater than we’d ever known changed our lives forever.
My heart ached with the joy, beauty, and pain of it all.
Two and a half years later, I marveled at the innate ability of my heart to expand again.
Today, another two and half years later, my heart still grows.
It soars with each success. It suffers with every failure.
My daughters experience aches and pains before rapid growth. Like them, hardships sometimes accompany my own triumphs.
Sometimes our greatest breakthroughs go hand-in-hand with the greatest anguish.
Pregnancy stretched, pulled, and gave way to the agony of labor.
I barely remember the pain. I recall newfound appreciation for my body, transformed beautifully to sustain and nurture.
I evoke memories of delicate babies, perfect in wrinkly new skin, placed into my arms for the first time.
Cracked nipples and engorged breasts healed.
Hours spent with a flushed-cheeked child remain an enduring reminder that sacrifice brings the most surprising rewards.
The physical agony of running 26.2 miles vanished when I heard my daughters’ cheers at mile 21.I stopped just long enough to embrace them. Their love bolstered me to finish strong.
Even the deep grief as I held our beloved dog in the last seconds of his life was just another moment of growth.
As my husband and I said goodbye to MacAfee, I wasn’t sure I was strong enough to endure it. Even months later, I can’t think about that day without fresh tears.
My heart still aches, but a love so clear and pure strengthens me in ways I never expected.
As our hearts broke, my husband held me. And I held him.
Despite the pain, we grew together. After ten years of marriage, our hearts opened to each other in a new way.
Now, when I tuck my daughter back into bed and promise the hurt won’t last forever, I believe my words.
I know growing pains will give way to longer legs and a stronger, fuller heart.
I tell myself the same.
Next month, I’ll clutch my daughter’s hand and usher her into a kindergarten classroom. I’ll know the ache in my chest is just a growing pain.
I’ll embrace it.
Beyond the pain, there is growth.
Nicole Goodman is a full-time working mama and the caffeine-driven mind behind Work in Sweats Mama.
After business hours, you’ll find her chasing her fearless two-year-old, verbally sparring with her precocious almost-five-year-old, seeking an endorphin high on long runs, avoiding housework, and slurping down gigantic fountain Cokes.
Nicole’s idea of the perfect vacation involves lots of GORP (Good ‘Ol Raisins and Peanuts) while backpacking in a National Park. Trail running and SUP-ing in Hawaii is a close second.