I don't believe being a mother is the only way one can come to know and understand the love I have come to feel over the past six and a half years, but I do believe being a mother has helped heighten my awareness of that love. As a mother, I am constantly needed whether it be physically, mentally, emotionally, or spiritually. My body is a house to fetuses as they grow and develop. After birth, my body turns into a food-producing machine. Once each child weans, my body returns to its first responsibility as a house--or a protection--from the many storms of life, which at this point and time usually involves minor cuts and bruises.

Everyday, this house of mine utilizes all its functions. My arms reach out to hug small bodies. My fingers wipe away tears and brush sweat-stained hair away from sun-kissed foreheads. My lips kiss soft cheeks. My chest embraces sad and happy expressions. My hips lug 15 lb., 20 lb., 30lb., 40 lb. babies back to bed in the middle of a night after bad dreams. My knees become a chair for story time and daily gossip. My back giddy-ups up and down to the sound of squealing laughter. My toes tickle tender bellies. Everyday, every part of my body is used for the benefit of someone else.

My body is not my own. It hasn't been for quite some time. And it will not be mine again for a few more years I think. Recently, I realized this time and phase will pass. One day I will be longing to hold my grownup babies, and they will live far away, and I will have to settle for a girls' weekend somewhere, and that thought makes my heart ache because I so love the phase I am in (most of the time ;)), even if it is the hardest phase of life I have ever experienced, and it is. Every single day I check my desires at the door and willingly give 8-10 hours of unpaid service to 4 small children, wiping their boogers on the hem of my sleeve or drawing countless my little ponies or correcting mispronounced words to the chagrin of my 6 year old, and some days it's a fight to do so, and some days it's not. (Today was a fight.)

The thing about motherhood that is so beautiful is that no matter the circumstances that surround each mother, I believe mothers truly fight to be selfless and to give all that they can, even if it is small, to the benefit of their children. I have met mothers with little to no education who struggle to help their children complete their homework because they cannot read the instructions, but instead of giving in to the discouragement, they sit with their children for hours until they can make sense of things. I have met mothers who for one reason or another have to parent alone. They work long hours and sometimes work two jobs just to provide a roof overhead. Sometimes their children understand their sacrifice; sometimes they don't. I have met mothers who are not yet mothers but who are hopeful women that poke and prod themselves daily in hopes that soon they will find themselves listening to a faint heartbeat on a baby monitor. I pray daily for these women, especially the ones closest to me.

Mothers, no matter the circumstance, fight a good, hard fight. We give up a little piece of ourselves in hopes that it will be passed to the next generation. I am honored to be a woman and a mother. I love my daughters dearly. I love the man that gave me my daughters. We are in this crazy life together, and I wouldn't have it any other way.

Clearly I'm very behind on the blog so here are the most current pictures I have of the girls, and they obviously don't match, but I don't care. It's late, and I'm tired.

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"Be kind and considerate with your criticism... It's just as hard to write a bad book as it is to write a good book." Malcolm Cowley