This mother’s guilt.
March 03, 2010

Sometimes, I stare at her while she sleeps.  I run my fingers along the edge of her face and tuck her blonde wisps of hair behind her ears.  The day starts and I hear the neighbors leaving for work and student carpools honking to announce their arrival and the keys in the lock after Donald kisses his girls good-bye.  And amidst the rush of the morning, there we are.

It’s just the two of us.  She slumbers.  I adore.

So many thoughts run through my brain in those moments.  I try to still them, but they squeeze in and race about regardless.  I try to breathe in and out and just soak up each minute, but instead I find my mind wandering.

I wonder at her beauty.  I imagine her as the infant who was first placed on my chest, a warm and squirming picture of perfection.  I ponder what she might look like later.

Then I think about, well, everything.

Her first steps and her first day of school.  What she will like to do and who she will become.  Will we shop for a wedding dress together?  Will her partner love her well?  Will she come to me one day, a smile on her lips, a baby in her belly?

I picture her graduations.  Then I think about watching her run into the ocean for the first time.  How it will be when she first tells me she loves me.  And, conversely, how I will survive when she first tells me she wishes she had a different mother.

The thousands of diaper changes flash through my brain, followed by the thousands of times I will buckle her car-seat and say ALRIGHT, LET’S ROLL.  The hundreds of lullabies sit aside the dozens of times I’ll roll my eyes and say FINE, ONE MORE STORY.  BUT JUST ONE.  And then read her two.

It all flies by in those moments and I find myself struggling to live in the moment and cherish her AS SHE IS, RIGHT HERE, RIGHT NOW.  Because I love remembering the past and I wonder so much about the future.  And as the morning marches on, as the birds chirp outside and the sun dangles higher in the sky, I lay kisses on her forehead and breathe in the sweet smell of the baby I so love and worry about this, about whether or not I am too immersed in the past and future to be the mother she needs in the present.

Then she stirs and snorts and flashes me a sleepy smile.  The same smile she had when she was born and the same smile she will have when I take my last breath.  And I thank the heavens above for that smile.  It’s telling me that I’m doing just fine.


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  1. By Kate (This Place is Now a Home) on March 03, 2010

    I. Can’t. Wait.

    That’s all I have to say :)

  2. By kbreints on March 03, 2010

    Oh my I go through this so often. All I have to say is I am so thankful for all the blogging (journalling) and photo taking I do. I just got done scrap booking the first two years of my first sons life, and the first few months of my second and I am just SO very thankful to have those memories on paper and something that I can revisit over and over.

    It is my gift to me… and some day them.

  3. By Krista on March 03, 2010

    I do this too.  I worry about making the right parenting decisions, the right decisions for our family and the right decisions for myself.  I’m constantly worrying about what I’m doing so much that I’m not sure I ever feel right in the moment with her.  Everything is a rush but the last five months are a blur. 
    I love the way you talk about it and put it down on paper (uh, the internet).

  4. By patchy patch on March 03, 2010

    This is a beautiful post, thanks for sharing!

  5. By Sheila on March 03, 2010

    Beautiful.  As I am now awaiting my first grandchild by my only daughter, this post was perfect.  I am now on the other side of what you are thinking.  And the time flies just as you said.  I feel like it was just yesterday I was you.  Cherish and enjoy.  It will be an awesome ride.

  6. By on March 03, 2010

    Why? How? How do you do this Sarah? Why do you always make me cry?

    I LOVE YOU FOR IT.

    I don’t know if it’s because I have a ten month old and I often feel exactly the way you describe it on your posts, but you always touch me in the deepest, most precious and cherished places of my heart.

    You should write a book. I’m serious.

  7. By Cynthia on March 03, 2010

    This is beautiful Sarah… You have captured the very essence of the “guilt” mothers go through. It’s a wonderful thing.

  8. By Julie on March 03, 2010

    That was so beautifully written.  Reading your blog takes me back to the days when it was just me and my first baby girl at home together. Those were magical days that I will always treasure. Now that she’s 10, and I have 3 more I find myself going through my daily routine, getting frustrated with them for their messes and sassiness, and I forget how awesome they really are. I need to remember to love them just how they are right now and not be so anxious for them to get out of my hair, or go to bed.

    Thanks for the reminder.

  9. By Lauren @ In the Pudding Club on March 03, 2010

    Oh Sarah.  So beautiful.  And so relatable.

  10. By becoming-mom on March 03, 2010

    Why can’t I write like this? :)

    Thank you for making me even MORE excited to go pick up Jasper from daycare.. the moment he sees me he drops everything and makes a running leap into my arms.. best part of my day. Best part of my LIFE!

  11. By erin on March 03, 2010

    This is so beautiful.  You’re such a wonderful writer.  I do this exact same thing… I look at Hannah and I see her whole life spread out before me, and my heart just about breaks, I love her so much.

  12. By Callie D. on March 03, 2010

    Aww, that was beautiful!

  13. By on March 03, 2010

    My word!  This post struck a chord!  Harper isn’t even here yet and I already wonder these things!  What will she look like?  Whose personality traits will she exhibit?  How will my heart feel when she first says Mommy?  How will I handle her walking/talking/learning/driving….!  It’s so much!  Everyday I think of another thing that she will go through and I get all misty-eyed.  I have to stop myself from making her grow up before she’s even here!  I have to remind myself to take each minute as it comes because they’re so fleeting.  I want her here now so very badly, but I know I will meet her soon and those extraordinarily wonderful baby moments won’t last long.  So now I begin training myself for the patience I hope I can have once she’s here.  It’s good to know I’m not alone in this!

  14. By Sarah Christensen on March 03, 2010

    Kate and Courtney - YOU.  WILL.  LOVE.  IT.  I promise.  It’s awesome.

    Everybody else - Thank you.  It’s so true, your heart just bursts.  I’m glad that other people can relate!

  15. By on March 03, 2010

    I am just a big hot mess today. I feel like I’ve been crying all afternoon, and this just made me cry again. :(

    But at the same time, I know that these are the same feelings that my Mom had for me and Shell and Bub and I can’t wait to start my own family. Just be ready for all the phone calls from me, becuase you are surely doing something right! Charlotte is an amazing little girl!

  16. By Melodie on March 03, 2010

    I just had some of these thoughts this afternoon while my 2 year old was nursing. You just put my thoughts into better words. :)

  17. By on March 03, 2010

    =*]
    That was beautiful , Sarah.

  18. By Sarah Christensen on March 03, 2010

    Missy - Your mom loved beyond measure.  Trust me.  No matter what, hold on to that.  It’s a sort of timeless, endless, all-consuming, happy love.  And when you get the green light, I know that you will enjoy every bit of it =)

  19. By Julia on March 05, 2010

    You are extremely good at describing your admiration for your child.  You put the words on paper so the rest of us are like “yes - that’s what I’m feeling!“  Thank you!!  I’ve actually been mostly good about keeping our boy in the moment (or maybe I don’t think deeply enough! lol).  Basically, I stay in denial that’s he keeps getting bigger!

  20. By Cynthia on March 07, 2010

    Sarah, like everyone else has said…beautiful beautiful post.  I also think these same thoughts daily…but then I stop myself and remind myself to enjoy her as she is at this second, live in the moment.  I think as a mom though you are always worried, thinking and believing in the best for your kids :)!  I love this post.


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