I remember sitting in church, seeing mothers with unruly children, spilling cheerios on the floor. Their hair a mess, wrinkled clothing, oh, and the one who showed her new purple panties to the back row while picking her nose. I saw the ones who screamed and kicked and the ones who got away.
I made my plans, then, for teaching my children to sit still and look quietly at a hymn book. Yes, I knew my future children would be well-behaved, and with little effort from me, just my unbounded love and devotion.
I remember the day I changed my mind.
I was disheartened in church and my two year old struggled against my grip. I hadn't much of a lap to keep her as the child inside was aching for space. I was desperate for her to be calm. Didn't she know how important this was? Her older sister was on the floor already, reaching to the bench behind for the crayons she had kicked away. My children were some of the above sometimes, and none of the above at others. I didn't expect them to be perfect on Sundays anymore. Just good in general would be nice. I was at the end of my rope. My Day of rest was not restful.
I passed her to her father and turned to smoothe my dress. A woman in the next row was fighting, too. I smiled knowingly as she pushed her writhing son to the floor. I felt her pain. And then...I felt her pain. We were the same! She wanted what I wanted.
I scanned the room. There were two more mothers holding young ones and several with older children, not all of whom were silently obedient. I studied the woman in front of me. Her children were grown and gone and yet, she had known this. She felt my pain. And for a moment, in her empty arms, I felt hers. We were all the same. Mothers, clinging to the hope in our childrens' futures, of one mind, one goal. My own mother then, had felt this pain, this joy. I knew then, that this moment would be over one day and much too soon. My husband handed our daughter back to me. I beheld her face and pulled her close, breathing my love around her. She would one day be a mother, too.