I miss the way nursing a baby pushes the pause button on my day. Whatever I needed to do in that moment–freezes. To be sure, I’ve done my share of nursing while reading/cooking/typing/hair brushing/eating. But I’ve also thrown up my hands and said, “That’s it. I’ve got to nurse this baby!” I’d plop down in my big comfortable nursing chair, snuggle in, and take a deep breath. I’d just pause.
Now that I’m not nursing any more, I have to remind myself to take those pauses. It’s not in my personality to be silent and still. But I want to have those moments because I have found time and time again that these moments are where the magic of motherhood lies, waiting.
Let me show you how it works.
My daughter, Mae, has a cat. He’s sweet but a little sickly. I’m embarrassed to admit how much he has cost us in vet bills. The other morning he wasn’t doing too well and I knew I’d have to take him to the vet (urgh!) after I dropped her off for school. As I drove, she was a little quiet and so I asked:
“Are you thinking about Tango, Sweetie?”
She played it cool in that grade-schooler-trying-to-be-grown-up-way. “No, I’m not even thinking about him at all.”
I paused. No lecture about how she should care about small creatures. No explanation about how much money we’ve already spent on vet bills. No pointing out if she doesn’t even care about him, then fine! I’d be glad to get rid of him.
Just a pause and a deep breath.
And then she said quietly, “I guess I’m pretty worried about Tango. Mommy, will he be all right?”
Like magic, a mothering moment appears in the pause.
But tonight, I paused. No need to hurry to the next sentence. No need to impatiently rush to the end of the book. Just a pause and a deep breath.
And then, cutely and clearly, in his little toddler voice: “Boom, boom, Mr. Brown NUNDER!” And his chubby hands raise up in delight as he imagines himself, an all-powerful boy, making thunder, too.
And there it is, that little ache in my heart that feels like sadness and gratitude at the same time as I witness the tiny miracles in a pause.
My son is my alarm clock. He comes into our room every morning around 6:30 and wants to get into our bed. Usually I tell him to come back a little later, that’s it too early to get up. Or I’ll let him in for a minute and then, begrudgingly, we start the day.
But this morning, I paused. No hurrying out of bed. No glancing at the clock. No moaning that I want to be left alone.
Just a pause and a deep breath.
And then Lalo snuggled a little closer, his small face close to my ear and he said, “You know Mommy, I really love you.”
Like when the silt, in the stillness, settles to the bottom of the pond and everything becomes clear, I can see the reason I’m a mother, in the pause.
QUESTION: What special moments have you shared with your children when you’ve taken a moment to pause?
CHALLENGE: This week, identify natural opportunities within your busy day for you to “pause,” such as when you are nursing a baby or tucking a child into bed. Linger in the pause a little longer than usual, and take note if magic mothering moments occur.
Photos submitted by Amanda Hamilton Roos.
Originally published on December 15, 2012.