What Makes it Worth it

When she stretches and makes squeaky noises.
Her soft, cool fingers on my hands and arms when she sleeps or feeds.
The fast little breaths she takes.
How she smiles and her eyes roll back when she's falling asleep.
Her big, bright eyes when she's alert.
The sound she makes while sucking the pacifier.
How her long eyelashes curl.
How her lips tremble just before a new round of paci sucking.
How soundly she sleeps cuddled on my chest.
Her vice grip on my fingers when she cries.
How she still balls herself up into the fetal position.
When she goes totally limp after a feeding.
Her crazy kicking legs when she's excited.
Her growing rolls.

These are the things that make the lack of sleep, the ill-fitting clothes, the unproductive days, and the udder on my chest worth it. Motherhood is really hard. But don't think for a moment that I've ever taken it for granted. All it takes is one of these things to remind me that it's all worth it. 

Last week I did my first subbing stint since I was 23. It went well, especially because it was only half days. It did my heart a world of good, and not for the reason you might expect. Sure, it was nice to be teaching again, to be back in the world of humans who mostly don't poop their pants. But it made me more grateful than ever that I get to stay home with Isabel. Though our checkbook might scream for me to work more frequently, my heart whispers "Stay home. Spend the day with your daughter, even if all you accomplish is holding her in your arms." I missed her. I didn't want to miss one thing that happened to her those days. Coinciding with that reminder, I found these two things on Facebook last week, and both pulled at my heartstrings:

 I found the first on Etsy by thehandwrittenword. I feel that whether or not you are a parent, this is true. Maybe you work with children or youths at church. It's easy to see children as a distraction from what you've always done and feel needs to be done. But truthfully, they are the future; they are the most important work.
And this I found on Facebook, and it made Mike sad and made me bawl my eyes out. These last times are good, because ultimately we hope to raise Isabel to be independent, strong, and firmly rooted in the truth. But boy is that ever hard on a mommy's heart. Except the screaming when it's bedtime. Mike and I agree that we could have a "last time" for that and not miss it.

I've been pretty absent from blogging recently. I hope that will change, because I have a lot to say, and not all of it is baby-related. However, Isabel is worth my writing hiatus. So if I continue to be absent, that is why. She is my most important work, and this job is non-stop. And worth it.

xoxo, A