For me, being a mother spans across countless levels of love and endurance.
In the beginning, the love was new and full of protection and sometimes paranoia. The countless nights of checking, and checking again, that they were breathing and warm enough. I found myself falling deeper in love with this beautiful tiny person with each new day. During this time, the endurance of providing physical care seemed endless–snotty noses, diapers, bouts of stomach flu, picking up toys, sanitizing everything over and over, lifting, lugging, buckling, feeding, and ultimately chasing.
In the middle stages of my mothering, I spent the years discovering who I was while attempting to allow them to do the same. I was immersed in myself and the love and endurance I focused on was different. I was striving to be consistent and open. I wanted my children to see my love as an attempt to be lead by my example. I wanted them to see my endurance as demonstrated by sticking through anything. I hoped to be an example of tenacity and strength. I loved ferociously and it bled out through my battles and discovery of my own voice.
Today there is a softness to how I mother my kids. My love remains vast and still runs deep to my core. No longer is the endurance of years past motivating me. Instead, there is a relaxed quality about not only me, but how I love them. I am more trusting. I love knowing that their path is theirs and theirs alone. I get to stand alongside pointing out the beauty that is along their path, helping them to notice the things that I missed on my own path. I still get to be there, to help them up when they fall and wipe the dirt off the boo-boos they get through learning those hard lessons. I get to be the soft place to settle into when they are ready to share.
I look forward to the next phase of mothering as it will be whatever it needs to be then. I know for sure that throughout my experience of being a mom, it is the love and the endurance that has guided me. It is the willingness to give it all, to love unconditionally, and to be the constant no matter what.