Motherhood is the hug I get first thing in the morning.
It's running sock-covered feet on wood floors, and occasional slips and spills, and the kisses on bumps that follow.
It's knowing what they like to eat, as well as what they don't even want near their Mickey Mouse-shaped plate.
It's not having enough time for myself, much less for my husband, much less for my friends -- it's squeezing in just enough "me" time to still feel human, but it's also having fuzzy recollections of pre-kid days that were vibrant in an entirely different kind of way.
Motherhood is realizing that these days of wet smooches, poopy diapers, purses stashed with sippy cups and fruit snacks rather than lipstick or a tiny mirror, and so much activity that mysteriously leaves little actual proof of accomplishments, are all here temporarily. It's knowing I'll miss these days more than any music festival or late night spent drinking beer.
It's counting the minutes that feel like hours until my husband comes home, when I can tag him and go to the bathroom by myself. It's holding on to each second as they somehow miraculously slip away, and my kids are suddenly 5 years old and 1.
It's high fevers and middle-of-the-night Tylenol dosing. It's teething and another cold. It's screaming and fat tears because they cannot yet express these deep emotions of living.
Motherhood is remembering the woman I am outside of this one role, while also recollecting the previous comparable emptiness -- when I never knew that anything was missing -- until I held 7 pounds and so-many ounces in a hospital bed, gazing with my husband at this life that we made.
It's a baby whining at me constantly for attention one day, and the next roughhousing with her sister like I'm barely there. It's back pain and chiropractor visits from near-constant motion, getting two kids in and out of car seats, and carrying a purse filled with all of their things that's the size of my first apartment.
It's making two cups of coffee before I take one sip, because I forgot to put in coffee grounds, or a filter, or because I spilled it all over, after a night up with a kid. It's needing coffee to make coffee -- and the maid is off-duty.
It's finding a random tiny toenail in the dining room, or a dust bunny in the bathroom, and only kind of caring, because, mostly, I'm proud of the general tidiness of my house with four people living and playing inside -- this orderliness that would likely have repulsed pre-kid me -- and it's how sorry I now am for all of the time I wasted cleaning a bathroom that really didn't need it.
It's a pink-and-white teepee in the corner of the family room, and my CD towers hidden in a closet so they don't fall over and hurt someone. It's the subwoofer being used as a launch pad for rocket ships instead of house parties. It's my husband's leather chair being used to store Disney princess dolls, Little People and various toy parts.
Motherhood is this picture in my heart of these two lives that I've created and am raising as best I can. It's knowing every day that I've failed at something. It's going to bed and understanding that I'm doing my best, and that there's always another day of cuddles, errands, school bus waiting, breastfeeding, doctor appointments, gymnastics lessons and new teeth to count. It's finding this one moment in a messy hour to stop and take it all in.