A sharp squeal dissolves into a fit of giggles and then there's the thump-thump-thump as both girls run, shrieking, from the room as Hubby, taking on the menacing ogre persona, chases them around the top floor of the house.
I'm out on the patio with a glass of wine, admiring the last streaks of pink-peach-orange of the setting sun and the rush of a cool breeze carrying lingering scents of barbeque, cut grass and earth renewed.
My Mother's Day, made complete.
I've logged almost nine years of motherhood now, with 3 1/2 of them doubled in hilarity, insanity and (until just recently, gawd help me) diapers. Over dinner tonight, I marvelled at how something smaller than a head of a pin had grown inside me, how I had given it life and nourished it, and how it - she - had evolved into the girl that was now sitting beside me. (And across from me! Yes, I did it twice!)
Motherhood is an experience like no other, not something easily explained. There is pain, risk, disappointment, regret, frustration, sadness, loneliness, worry, guilt. Sometimes, hopelessness and despair. Moments where you wonder what on earth you were thinking when you agreed to this gig, then shame when you chide yourself for ever thinking that way.
(Because this is all supposed to be roses and rainbows, right? Having a baby and raising a child is supposed to bring limitless joy into your life, and you're to be grateful, and fulfilled and deliriously happy, right?? Sure. Then there's reality. Where most moms hang out.)
But then, sometimes as quick as a switch being thrown, there is delight, hilarity, warmth and amazement. There is love - in abundance - and pride. There is this overwhelming sensation that your chest and head are simultaneously going to explode because you're so friggin' happy.
That's when you get it about being a mom. This isn't meant to be an easy ride. You're not meant to be a superhero. You're going to have bad days when you want to cash it in, but hang in there a little longer, there's so much more to this job description than you realized. Trust me, it gets better.
Happy Mother's Day to every mom out there: the ones who are doing their best even though it feels like it's never enough; the ones who are feeling so alone during a 3 a.m. feeding; the ones who've got a speck of dust in their eye at their kid's graduation or first day of overnight camp. The ones who are bouncing grandkids on their knees.
You are doing great. And your kids love you for it.