Motherhood is surreal. Despite your best intentions to be a "cool mom," it's often hard to refrain from bursting out with absurdities like "We don't eat iPhones in this house," or "Get your tiara off the cat." Yet, despite the numerous moments of frustration and anxiety, motherhood is filled with many more moments of joy. Joy in that first moment you see your newborn's sleepy little face, or the first time your daughter draws a picture of the two of you holding hands, or that moment you look at your spouse and realize you're traveling side by side in the greatest adventure of your lives. Pure, exquisite, unbounded joy.
It's hard to list the joys of motherhood -- they are innumerable, vast, and at times overwhelming. However, in my experience, the best moments are often the small ones -- those fleeting wonders that might seem insignificant to others, but that sneak up on you and make you realize, in one quick breath, how simple and beautiful love can be. I call them Mommy Moments. Here is a list of some of my most memorable Mommy Moments, which have brought me enough joy to last a lifetime.
1. The first time my infant daughter fell asleep while nursing at my breast. I looked down at her, slumbering away in contentment, and realized with awe how we shared a bond that was all our own.
2. My infant son crawling next to me and resting his tiny head on my shoulder. As little as he was, I knew that was his way of saying "I love you."
3. The first time I saw my little girl on ice skates, trying to stand on her own two feet. She had a look of determination in her eyes I had never seen before. I held her hand tightly and together, we made it around that rink.
4. Sending my daughter to her room for some transgression, and seeing my infant son crawl right in after her. Their sibling solidarity was taking root -- and I realized with relief that they would always have each other.
5. The time I fell into the lake when attempting to board a tube. Everyone burst out laughing except for my daughter, who, with genuine concern in her voice, asked, "Are you OK, Mommy?" I knew right then that my daughter had my back -- as I would always have hers.
6. Watching my son play peek-a-boo behind the shower curtain during bath time. He can't get enough of hiding behind that thin, vinyl veil, only to suddenly reveal himself to Mommy and Daddy in an explosion of giggles. We can't either.
7. My daughter's first taste of sugar. At her first birthday, we gave her a piece of carrot cake. She proceeded to squeal and jump up and down for five straight minutes, finally crashing back in her chair. It was truly a happy birthday.
8. My husband lifting our daughter into an apple tree so she could explore the upper branches -- and her smile as she produced a bright, shiny red apple in each hand. Those two make a pretty good team.
9. My daughter and me performing the "halftime show" for my husband and son during the Super Bowl. I'm not sure if it was our synchronized dance routine or our magic act -- which involved the audience agreeing to "look over there" while we made assorted household items disappear -- but that night we received our first-ever standing ovation.
10. Every time I look in the rearview mirror and see my son and daughter reflected back at me, playing together, staring out the window, or sleeping blissfully in their seats. No matter what they are doing, each time I see them together, as I chauffeur them to whatever destination, I feel completely blessed.
The list could go on and on... and, someday, when I look back on their childhood, in my memory it will. Whether it's a few sweet words, a fleeting giggle, or a new adventure we share together, these Mommy Moments provide more joy than I ever imagined possible. Somehow, they even make up for my son using my iPhone as a chew toy...
This post is excerpted from the author's book, Mommy A to Z: An Encyclopedia of the Joys, Wonders, and Absurdities of Motherhood. Follow Mommy A to Z on Facebook and Twitter, or check out the Mommy A to Z blog.