It is 4:30am in the morning, and our 2 1/2 year old, Maxi has been sleeping on a mattress on the floor of our bedroom while Maggie learns to sleep through the night. I immediately wake up, even the slightest whimper of one of my children is picked up by the mother antennae. Max wakes up coughing and crying. He climbs over to the edge of our bed.
He whimpers "Ma-Ma, Maxi hurts, Maxi wakes up."
"I know baby, you're sick, do you want to sleep with us?"
"Yes," he whimpers, and I scoop him up in a hug and pull him over my body in-between Paul and I.
This is unusual because Max has not slept in our bed since he started sleeping through the night. Even when he is ill, and I climb into his bed to comfort him, he'll respond with "Mommy, GO!" So, I savor this rare moment, his little body curled up against mine.
I hold on tight because I realize in the still of the morning, that times like these are fleeting. It will not be long before I will no longer be the center of his universe. Marni Jackson says it best in Double Lives, "[H]aving children transforms you. It keeps on transforming you. And the hardest thing to prepare for is this constant change."
My first born opened up my heart; I never knew that I was capable of loving someone so completely. Admittedly, I was worried about the second child, how could I possibly love someone as much as I loved Max? However, with Maggie I learned that there was even more room in my heart, and this astounded me. With my children I have found a completeness that I never realized I was missing.
Life before children dulls in comparison. Watching them grow and develop has colored my world. I marvel as my baby's brow furrows in concentration when she is mastering the art of picking up Cheerios with her thumb and forefinger . My heart swells the first time my son starts referring to himself as "I" instead of "Maxi," and when he climbs up next to me, slides his arm around my neck and whispers into my ear"I love you Mama," my heart just about bursts.
My children have taught me to appreciate the small things again. The smallest things give them joy like how Maggie's face lights up simply because I walk into the room. Or how Max thrills at the sight of a snowball. Their laughter and their smiles are contagious. I can't help, but be happy when they are, which is why discipline can be so difficult sometimes.
Nothing is impossible for them, and they are not scared of failure. At one time getting from one side of the room to the other once seemed impossible, but now Maggie can do it at lightning speed. Their determined spirits have rekindled mine. My children have taught me to live again. They've inspired me to pursue my dream of writing, and to stop worrying about failure.
I have not lost my self, I have simply transformed.