This year was our inaugural Mother's Day Essay Contest. I asked for a short essay describing your joys of motherhood. The winner would receive a $50 gift certificate to Jak's Grill, a delicious steakhouse located here in Issaquah.

I read many entries. All of them made me smile, a few brought tears to my eyes! The love you have for your own mothers and the love your children evoke is glorious. Thank you for sharing these with me. I look forward to next year! Happy Mother's Day.

The winner of this year's essay contest is a mother of three; Jill Burk. Her words speak for themselves:

Joys of Motherhood

By: Jill Burk

From my first day as a mother, I was hit with the hard truth that this wasn't going to be all fun and games. I was "gifted" an infant who never slept. Ever. I say "gifted" because in the depths of despair I remember reading that children are gifts from God, and that God will never give you more than you can handle. I don't consider myself a particularly religious person, more of a spiritual type, but it's funny how much more of a relationship I have with God now that I'm a mother. It usually involves me bargaining with him on the toilet, where most of my praying occurs since that is where I can lock the door and have 30 seconds of peace, trying to summon the strength to get through another day. So at age 25, I remember holding this baby and just crying, pleading for him to sleep so that I could get a few precious moments of rest. With days and nights blurring into one another, I remember holding his soft, downy head against my cheek one night and whispering to him how much I loved him, as tears spilled out of my eyes with sheer exhaustion.

For me, these are the moments where I experience the most joys of motherhood. Those moments where you think you will break apart from frustration, where you just want to throw your hands up and say, I'm done with it all, and feel like you want to run away, then you look down and feel a little hand in yours. A hand that is probably sweaty and sticky with who knows what, but that curls itself into yours and a child looking up at you saying, "I love you Mama". Those moments make it all worth it. When the baby you've been rocking for hours finally lets go and drifts off on your shoulder, allowing you a moment to sit down and relax, or when you're potty training your naked toddler and hear a familiar grunt, and leap across all the furniture in your living room like a superhero, in time to catch a little present in your hands before it hits the carpet. Those times where you never thought something was humanly possible, and you were able to accomplish it, most likely while breastfeeding, talking on the phone and cooking dinner at the same time. Those times where you are up the entire night with a sick toddler and nursing an infant thinking to yourself, I just can't go on, but you pour another cup of coffee and keep plodding. Those times where you can hardly recognize the woman you've become, someone who has traded perfect hair and makeup for clothes that have been spit-up on, used as a tissue and as a napkin to wipe messy spaghetti faces. Hair that is thrown up in whatever style that keeps it away from grabby baby fingers.

Those times that you wouldn't trade all of it for the world, because at the end of the day every mother knows there's nothing better than looking at your precious angels, sleeping cozily in their beds, knowing that you successfully made it through another day. Nothing better than curling up in your own amazingly comfortable bed, a bed that you spend far too little time in, telling yourself that if you had the choice, you'd choose motherhood all over again in a heartbeat.

 

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