Right now my arms are full.
Full of pudgy cheeks, dimpled fingers, hair needing brushed, blankies, and sippy cups. Full of lap sitters, bedtime snugglers, and slow-to-wake-uppers.
It’s a funny thing, motherhood.
Every mother begins her journey with empty arms.
Once that precious baby (then the next, and the next) fills up our arms, our entire role as mother is to work ourselves out of a job. The goal of raising a happy, healthy, productive grown up results in the very thing a mother dreads: empty arms.
Sadly, some of us never realize the potential, joy, and craziness that accompanies the full arms of motherhood. Some of us have empty arms and grieving hearts, yet are mothers none the less. Arms, hearts and wombs ache at life lost, or given up, too soon.
Some have empty arms yet hearts full of memories; years spent loving and learning and growing. And now, whether across town or across the world our babies are living, working, walking, loving and filling arms of their own.
And some have empty arms that tremble still from having held so precious a thing as your own child only to have it ripped away. Illness. Tragedy. Mystery.
And though motherhood ultimately ends with empty arms the journey itself is marked along the way by moments of emptiness. Glimpses of the independence that will all too soon leave us standing awkwardly not knowing where to put our hands.
The empty arms of the first step.
The empty arms of the big boy bed.
The empty arms of the first day of school.
The first dance.
First set of car keys.
And so, while exhausting and trying and terrifying I will take a breath today. And tomorrow. And tuck these days away deep in the recesses of my heart. Into the place no one can touch, or rob, or sully and I will enjoy. And laugh. And ponder. And rejoice.
While these arms are still full holding hands. Hearts. Blankies. Books. Because I know all to soon they will be empty. One way or another, whether tomorrow or twenty years from now, that day will come far before I’m ready, or willing.
But on that day, though my arms be empty,may my heart be full.