She wakes and makes her way towards the kitchen. She walks a little slower tonight as she tries to slow the sting of the light on her sleepy eyes. She isn’t in a hurry, or at least she doesn’t appear to be. She looks focused, but also as if one long blink would put her back into a long, dreamy sleep. Yet, she walks and she yawns and pours the formula.
She has bags under her eyes, but her eyes sparkle nonetheless. She hears the hunger cries from the other room and works quickly to fill the bottle. She adores this time of night, even if she could be sleeping. She loves her new life and loves to feel needed, but those puffy eyes will tell a different story tomorrow. She looks a little different now, but she’s a constant provider.
Her belly is softer than it used to be. Her hips are wider and accomplished. She touches her middle as she leans down to wipe her legs after a much needed shower. She remembers the mornings spent running near the lake and how the post-workout showers used to feel. While that energy now is expended in chasing her babies around the house and park, the shower feels the same. She is invigorated and alive.
She sometimes wants to have that tight, naïve stomach back, but she feels the warmth of her belly and remembers it carried the lives that she wished for her entire life. She smiles and nods her head at the woman in the mirror. She looks a little different now, but she’s an unstoppable warrior.
Her soft, thinner skin wrinkles around her eyes and cheeks as she stands to cheer. She feels the hot sun on her face and realizes she forgot her sunscreen this morning. It has been another hot day out at the ballpark, watching game after game after game. Her back aches but her heart is full. She wipes the sweat from her brow and thinks about the joy of watching this child play ball.
Her face is a map of her emotional journey. The fear, the worry, the joy and the pain. She has known the ups and downs of creating a life, building confidence and struggling to do the right thing. When she looks around her, she feels the beat of the sun, but she also feels full and content. She looks a little different now, but she’s a soulful supporter.
Her arms are tired and her shoulders slouch. They’ve rocked babies in the black of the night, held brokenhearted middle schoolers, and congratulated proud teenagers after the game’s biggest catch. They’ve been too tired to touch, too heavy to pick up one more toy and they’ve longed for one more hug as they watch that car drive away.
Those arms are not as defined as they used to be, but they are seasoned and warm. They are always open and they are a forever source of calm and security. She looks a little different now, but she’s an unconditional keeper.
She is proud. She is constant. She is beautiful.
She is aged. She is selfless. She is worn.
She is forever changed for the better.
She looks a little different now because she is a mother.