Women arrive at motherhood in many ways and forms—sometimes through papers, sometimes tests, sometimes by just being in the right place for a person at the right time, but for me, motherhood came in the way of a chubby little bundle put on my chest at the close of a thirty hour labor, warm and perfect and beautiful. I remember just wanting to touch her, to look at her, to count her fingers and kiss her ears and hold her close because I had never, in my life, come so close to to the hand of creation. All I knew about my baby to that point was the way she liked to kick my ribs, that she was more active after I had ice cream, that she made me so big that even Andrew’s shirts were crop tops on me. Practically strangers, she and I, and yet I loved her helpless little body with a fierceness I could not express.
That day I fell in love with all things little.
The last seven months have been a collection of all that is little—little socks, little smiles, little fingermarks on my glasses. Little spoons now line the utensil drawer, little bath toys are strewn over the bathroom floor. Little reminders of the biggest love and she shows big excitement over the littlest things. Though motherhood is such a broad and diverse word, I think mothers of every kind are people who have learned to love the things that are little.
Motherlode, mother ship, motherland, Mother Goose—all such big words to describe a life made up of little—little hands, little noses, little coughs, little time—for other parents little tests, little steps, little words, little friends, then little backpacks, shoes, lunch boxes, little league, and then little keys, little envelopes with news about school, little cards and care packages, little rings, little circles on the calendar to mark a big date. Little pens and organizers to fill a new briefcase, little texts, little calls, little reminders that a mother is a mother the rest of her life and all these little things are to her the very biggest.
For those who are mothers, those who long to be mothers, those who have lost mothers, those who grieve daughters and sons, for those who wear a thousand hats and those who wear one, those who spend their days changing diapers and those who wait for a phone call from their adult children, those in the thick of it and those in the thin of it— let us be lovers this Mother’s Day of all things little—for what we are doing is no small thing.