I parent day and night, day in and day out without predictable breaks or vacation time. My home is filled with toys and craft supplies, my bed has little people sleeping in it, and my shoe size has been dictated by the widening of my feet through three pregnancies. The skin of my belly is striped with stretch marks and my breasts do a great impersonation of an all-hours buffet. I spend my days pulled in fifteen directions at once as dirty laundry, hungry bellies, and chattering mouthes all clamor for my attention. I wake up in the mornings with overwhelming amounts of work waiting for me and I go to bed at night wondering where my days have gone.
I watch miracles unfold daily. I see moments of deep and heart-melting tenderness between siblings. I see lightbulbs flashing over heads, I watch dreams swirling behind eyes, and I witness wonder and intrigue awakening in young minds.
I spend my days with these beautiful young souls who pounce on each day like it's a fresh adventure and I watch in awe as they squeeze in every last moment of fun. I stand beside them as they step into the world like its' animals and plants and people are the greatest treasures ever, and I get to see the world through their eyes.
My body has played a part in making people. I have felt the flutterings of tiny feet dancing beneath my skin, the rush of milk flowing from my breasts into hungry mouthes. I have birthed three babies, bringing them from deep within my body out into the world that awaits them. I have held their soft little bodies against my chest and I have experienced a pure love that I have never seen elsewhere.
And so the days may sometimes be long and the pile of dirty dishes may grow bigger by the day, but the struggles and the difficulties in parenthood can never come close to being equal payment for the joy and love of which I am a part.