Looming, it towers; casting a chilly shadow. A monster wave of desire unmet. Instead of reaching for the buoyant boat of self-control, a tiny human will tugs the monster down, relishing in the momentary release of its torrent. Quickly, it overpowers as the icy water of unchecked emotion batters and pulls, twists and tosses.
You see your child flail as his piercing screams erupt through salty tears. The water is deep and the drag is strong. You too could be swept away. Except your sea is not desire, it is comparison.
Your waves are built upon the thoughts in your head. “What do the other mothers think of me?” and “why is her child always so well behaved?” The temptation of your current, it sings, it screams, “stop crying now. This is ridiculous.”
If you choose to refuse the riptide, pausing to take a deep breath, you will find you can float. And floating makes you a life raft, rising above comparison, rising even above the severest tantrum. Calm and aloft, you become your child’s calm.
Folding down to their level, you gently pull your tiny toddler up out of their turmoil. Your voice soothes away the ominous roar of the storm. Your arms warm and pat dry their shaking body. Your rocking restores balance.
The sun has now reappeared, shooting an array of diamonds on the water. You look in your child’s eyes and see brilliance. Awestruck by the moment, you wonder how they came to be yours. You grab them back, shoving your face in their hair to suck in the sweetest scent. Joy is here. The kind of joy that cannot be given or bought, but only won on the other side of a raging battle you didn’t flee.
Motherhood requires navigation in deeper waters than we have ever dared to dip. As we voyage with our miniature crew there is no shortage of things to dread and certainly no lack of vexation. But there is raw beauty. Salt in your face and color on your cheeks. Be brave, mama. Turn your face upward and take a moment to delight in the journey, because we are on it together.