As I walked slowly back from the swimming pool yesterday I looked up at the sky. Half of it was a deep, clear blue, and just above me there was a distinct line where the coastal fog started and turned west into a gray, winter-like mud. On the right, I was warmed by sunny afternoons with friends, eating salty chips and watching the kids run and splash in the waves, never checking my watch. On the left, I imagined standing alone on the foggy shore in my swimsuit, shivering, having misjudged the weather yet again and suffering because of it. Kids sandy and crying, rubbing their cold, rough and clammy hands against my bare and freezing thighs.
And then I looked ahead onto the sidewalk. Jake up ahead with the three older girls and Tada and I, exchanging glances, her still mad about something toddler. Breeze wafting by, I realized this was motherhood.
Some gray, some blue.
The unexpected lows, the ones no one ever warns you about. And even then, you don't listen. Some of them derived from guilt that you put them outside to paint, only so you can enjoy a few more pages of your book. Or that after a mother's day morning of breakfast and homemade gifts and kisses and beautiful tears of gratitude, that you'd give anything for a few hours alone. Or that this may be the end-all. Finissimo. All that you may ever become. And that some days that's okay and some days it's very, very, not okay.
Then, the delicious reality that these babies are yours. The real tears. Of happiness and gratitude and hope that you will do enough for them, that you can be enough, just so by the end of your life, you may finally be worthy of them. These beautiful things. Their hair and faces and lips. Their gentle ways. Their scrutiny, their forgiveness. The rise and fall of their chests as they sleep. Their vulnerability that creates the spaces that only a mama can fill. The subtle beating of their hearts that you can see as they gaze at you.
A push and a pull. A journey so long and arduous that none could compare, none could ever be more rewarding than this.
The sacrifice, the frothy soup of a real life family.
It is 100% worth it.