Remember when your sweet little baby was placed in your arms for the first time and you stared in wonder at the amazing creature that was now yours? You may have been afraid, you may have been sick or weak, but for most new moms there's a feeling that comes soon after their babies are born, a feeling of overwhelming love and adoration. Then you get back to life, the babymoon ends and the tiredness sets in.
I was reading my scriptures this morning and I came across a verse in the Book of Mormon that said, "If ye have experienced a change of heart, and if ye have felt to sing the song of redeeming love, I would ask, can you feel so now?" It's often quoted in the LDS church, referring to a spiritual conversion from one state of being to another and whether the converted person is still changed after some time has passed.
It hit me in a new way this morning. I started thinking about my parenting and the change I went through emotionally when I became a mother. Physically, I can definitely tell you I still feel it. I'm not pleased about that, but I can still feel the effects of giving birth to 3 children.
Emotionally, I miss that new fresh mommy feeling, the time when you're all wrapped up in your baby and your baby can't get enough of you, the time when every time you look at her all you can think of is overwhelming love and not the desire to nag or correct or tell her to get her finger out of her nose.
I still feel love for my older kids, probably more deeply now than when they were babies because I know who they are and I understand their personalities which are so frequently an amazing gift to me. But I spend a lot of time nagging them. I spend too much time preoccupied and semi-ignoring them.
When Laylee started preschool, I would spend buckets of time after each day of school debriefing her, asking about every detail of what they did, what they said, what they learned, who she played with. Now I frequently forget to ask her about her day until it's almost time for bed. That excitement, that desire to connect? Do I still feel it?
I know that time moves on and kids get older and since they no longer look to me to put every bite of food in their mouths, clean every inch of them, diaper them, and provide all their entertainment and friendship, we will naturally not be joined at the hip as much as I am with my infant Wanda. But I miss it. And I think that some of that loss of closeness is a choice. I can choose to extend the babymoon with all of my kids as long as I choose to take the time to be interested in them, to turn off the distractions and to really mother.
Whenever I zone in like that, I'm glad I did. Those are the times that squeal-inducing mother love comes back and I want to grab them and squeeze them and hold them until they pop.
So I ask you, if you have felt the feeling of intense love, bonding and closeness with your children, can you feel so now? If not, do something about it. They're not little for long.