With age comes many things. My mind immediately thinks of wrinkles, larger hips, forgetfullness.
But it also comes with a growing awareness of the subtly of life.
The beauty of the simple days.
The realization that love is our greatest strength.
The understanding that the best gifts are those which don't arrive wrapped up in a neat package.
It's a sleepless night because only Mama could soothe a little girl's hurts.
It's the pain of labor that births your beautiful child after hours of struggle.
It's the touch of your baby's hand resting against your chest as she sleeps, content only because she is held in your tired and aching arms.
It's reading aloud the same book over and over after a long day of work when you'd rather take a moment to breathe in the silence.
It's the endless dinner preparations with little hands insisting on helping.
It's the newborn who refuses to be put down and wants to nurse constantly.
It's getting up with the birds every day after a long night filled with wakings.
It's changing messy diapers, years of answering cries in the night, rushing through showers, going to the bathroom with an audience, and kissing owies.
It's preparing bottles, wiping spitup, patiently sitting by during temper tantrums, offering hugs even when you are angry, cleaning runny noses, and holding sticky hands in the parking lot.
None of these feels like a gift at the time. They are a burden and an inconvenience, moments to endure between the truly beautiful ones filled with laughter and playing pretend.
It's in these moments that motherhood is a gift.
Not to us. Our gifts are those beautiful moments.
In these trying moments, motherhood is our gift to our children.
It's in these circumstances, these frustrating, tiring, seemingly insignificant times, that our children need us mothers the most.
Gifts are not always wrapped in a pretty package. They sometimes come in the form of a woman with wet hair, tired eyes, and wrapped in a worn bathrobe.
And that is often the greatest gift of all.