Thursday, February 2, 2012

Hold Onto This Feeling

Individuals of the male persuasion, turn your eyes away from this post. Thanks!

Two weeks ago I babysat for a family of three.

There's something about babysitting that tugs at my heart strings. Here I am, a single woman living on my own, but for an evening I get to play mommy. I get to take care of the most beautiful little children. I get to play with them, feed them dinner, kiss their little cheeks and tuck them into bed. I never want it to end.

When I babysat last week, the baby was scared of me at first, but in no time at all she was clinging to me. I love those little baby hands that tug at my hair, that pull at the buttons on my shirt. They are so tiny, so endearingly helpless. I put the baby down on the floor as I cooked dinner. She crawled over and held up her little arms to be carried. Every part of my heart melted as I scooped her up with a hug and kiss.

I stood over the stove, the baby on my left hip and a spatula in my right hand, entering the zen state I'm always in when I cook while holding a baby. I must be the strangest 22-year-old ever, because I love that feeling. It's the most maternal, creative, nurturing feeling in the world.

I channeled my inner Mary Poppins for the two older children. "We have three minutes until the toast is done," I told them. "Do you think you can clean up the whole living room in that time?" They nodded eagerly. "On your marks," I said with mock seriousness. "Get set. Go!" They finished just in time for toast, and did a decent job too.

We snuggled cozily on the couch for reading, two children on my lap and one nestled firmly by my side. We were contented, even when the baby fussed from time to time. I was amazed at how happy I felt. I don't think there's any feeling in the world that's better than reading to children.

I used the "You have just one minute..." trick to get them into their pajamas and in bed. I tucked them in tight and crossed my fingers that they would stay put. Then we read more stories and I snuggled the sleepy infant until their mom and dad got home.

What a blessed evening. Full of chaos and confusion and some crying from the baby, but also full of affection, smiles, games, laughter and many hugs.

Sometimes when I'm babysitting, I can't help but imagine what my life would be like if, some day, God calls me to serve Him as a wife and mother.

I know mothering is hard. This article compares it to climbing Mount Everest. I don't have kids and I don't know what that day-to-day, endless, repetitive, self-giving and self-sacrificial experience must feel like for moms.

But I know this: When I get to babysit, when I surround myself with little children and immerse myself in their worlds and their points of view, I'm so happy. Even at its most exhausting, I never get tired of it. I want to do it forever.

Will I still feel this way, if I'm ever a mom?

Will my heart beat a little faster when a baby wants to be held - if it's my baby? Will I enjoy cooking dinner if I have to do it every single night - for my children? Will I treasure story time as much and want to read as many books - when I'm reading them to my babies?

I don't know. I haven't been in that position yet.

But if I ever am in that position, I hope I'll remember how magical mothering felt, when it was something I only got to do occasionally.

I hope I'll love it just as much. I hope I'll remember this feeling, and keep it alive. I hope I'll treasure every moment, if God ever lets me be a mom.


  1. Ah, Tess, this post put a little ache of longing into my heart, too. You're so right... we need to hold onto those beautiful moments so that we can remember them when times are harder. God bless you!

  2. Thank you, Clare! I'm glad to hear I'm not the only one who feels like this. :) God bless you!