(Second essay in my Comp class, and I think it's rather good.... I had to share.... Now to find out what my grade is.)
I met her on my eighteenth birthday. I was young, naive, and fell instantly in love. Her big brown-gray eyes, her soft dark hair and her cute button nose clenched the deal. The moment the nurse placed that beautiful, little bit of a thing in my arms I felt utterly at peace for the first time in several months. And although that peace was short lived, for at least a few moments I caught a glimpse of the future. As I put my child to my breast and felt her suckle, as the oxytocin flowed, we fell in love. I felt at peace, content, and I knew from that moment on, my life would NEVER be the same again. I felt a connection to women all over the world, and knew that there was nothing I couldn’t do, and nothing I wouldn’t do for my child. And now, 22 years later, a new bond has formed one that has taken me entirely by surprise.
Nobody had prepared me for the utter joy and contentment that motherhood could bring. The first time I truly understood how amazing a newborn could be was when my mother brought home my baby sister. I was 4 at the time, and I remember my mom sitting for hours, rocking Beth in a wooden rocking chair crooning the lullabies that she used to sing to me to that tiny blonde baby, and she would look so content. I would imitate my mother, and rock my baby dolls and sing to them, try to nurse them like my mother would do my baby sister. But a baby doll is a poor substitute for an infant, and the emotional reactions that happen when you hold a baby don’t happen when you hold a doll. There are things that can’t be taught, you have to learn through experience. Motherhood is one of those things.
As I held my first born, I suddenly understood the beaming Madonna in portraits. Before this moment, I never understood why she looked so happy, so ecstatic. As a mother, I felt initiated into a secret society of women. I felt that this was the meaning of life: to give life, and to nurture life. This was what I was meant to do. All those years playing with my dolls, then later babysitting the neighbor kids was just the prelude, I was finally stepping on stage for the opening act. Seeing those big brown-gray eyes looking back at me as my child took nourishment from me for the first time was the single most awe-inspiring moment of my life.
Later, as my child grew bigger, the awe inspiring moments were fewer and further between. Nevertheless, at certain moments, the oxytocin would kick in, and the peace and contentment would reign supreme in my soul. If I was feeling stressed out, I would snuggle her into me and sing those lullabies that my mother would sing to me, and I would feel contentment, joy, at peace. These scenes of joy and difficulty would repeat themselves as I grew as a mother and my child grew into a strong-willed individual.
My life took on a whole new dimension as a few short months ago as another beautiful child was laid in my arms. Looking down into her gray-blue eyes as she stared back up at me, gave me such a feeling of contentment that I hadn’t felt in nearly 18 years. Holding my first grandchild in my arms for the first time was a reawakening of my soul. Feeling her tiny fingers clasp around my pinky, I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that the world is a much better place because she is here. Suddenly, the same feelings that I felt all those years ago while holding my first born were renewed, but with a depth that I never knew existed.
It’s amazing how my life has come full circle. As I was holding my newborn, I didn’t think I would ever feel so at peace with the world. Now, nearly twenty two years later, I find that I can get back that intoxicating feeling. I cannot imagine anything else that can bring me to that
level of contentment, apart from for watching my children, and then my grandchildren, grow up and have families of their own. If I can see my progeny have even half as much joy in their lives through sharing them with the ones they love, then I will consider my life well lived.