As the mom of a recently-turned fifteen-year-old son, I’ve enjoyed thousands of great sleeps between now and those early nights of motherhood when extended sleep was impossible. Back then, I spent my nights startling awake to make sure the baby was still breathing, hearing him rustle next to me and pulling him close to nurse, and learning to change a diaper with my eyes nearly closed. It was a delirious time, a hazy time, a time I thought I had forgotten.
Recently, the old memories and instincts have arisen as I wake several times a night to take my puppy outside to pee. About a month ago, my family adopted a cute, black-and-white Cocker Spaniel mix who is essentially an energetic ball of fur and teeth. He’s brought cuddles, humor, and a living room littered with chew toys to our lives. He’s also the reason that in the wee hours of the night, listening to him cry in protest of returning to bed, I cry along with him, wondering if I will ever sleep well again.
Then each morning I am greeted by my son, who is entering a new phase of independence. He is not that infant needing me at night, nor is he the toddler learning to walk, the hesitant boy starting school, or the tween staying home alone for the first time. When he recently took the seat behind the wheel of my car to begin to learn to drive, I realized with both joy and sorrow that no phase of childhood lasts forever.
These days, all our lives are full of uncertainty. As I read the pieces in this issue of Literary Mama, I’m reminded that the only guarantee in life is change: One mother questions her career choice. A mother contemplates her own death. Yet another navigates her shifting relationship with her adult son.
As mothers, we must learn to embrace each moment, while also letting go of our children at every turn. This Mother’s Day, I wish you a good night’s sleep and a hope that whatever phase of motherhood, or puppyhood, you’re in, you will breathe it in deeply. Because however great the sting of love and suffering, the night will pass and tomorrow will bring with it the truth that everything has changed again.
Editor in Chief