When I was younger, pining away to be a mother some day, I figured the best part of motherhood would be holding my own newborn baby.  Or maybe it would be the first time that baby called me “mama.”  Or was it going to be the first steps taken or the first problem I got to help solve? 

As I morph deeper and deeper into this rollercoaster called motherhood I realize the best parts continue to evolve.  They are everything from a less talkative child spilling out their deepest feelings, to the realization that the baby who had the most horrible reflux in all the land had finally stopped spewing spit up in every direction, to watching your child come out triumphant in an intense sporting match, (or even being a great sport with a loss), to overhearing your teenager talk with such gentleness to a younger sibling to finding a handwritten note on your pillow telling you a particularly stubborn child was sorry…and that they love you. 

Oh man, there’s a lot that makes this job “the best job in the world” (and there’s also a lot that can make it the pits too, that’s for sure…oh I could go there I tell you!). But today let’s just focus on the good stuff. 

Because I want to talk about something that really would win for one of the tippy-top good things about motherhood:

Watching growth. 

As a mother you get a front-row seat.

I sat on the sidelines of Claire’s volleyball tournament last Saturday, Max at my side, watching those girls fight it out for some wins.  It was their third tournament of the season (Claire’s second…she doesn’t go to all since she’s a “practice player”) and out of all the games in those tournaments the wins had been slim.  They are just learning.  And I couldn’t help but remember Max’s learning curve.  The barely-leaving-the-floor jumps morphing into the giant hops leading to spectacular kills.  And all the determination and hard work in between.

Made it extra fun to watch this girl, standing in the same spot her brother played, smiling through the net at his opponents, waiting and ready:

 …and his initial hops like this one:

 (Go Claire!)

 I loved watching her growth even in the one game she blew the whistle to ref and how much she listened to those instructions:

 …and even a good block:

The amount of growth and awareness in just the few months this girl has been playing was so fun to watch.

Made me think of other growth: the glow that Grace came home with, triumphant after making the cheer team after working her tail off to get there, of Lucy, after kicking and screaming to begin with, standing smiling in a sea of Chinese-speaking kids in her first-grade class in Shanghai, of Elle realizing after only a few days that not only could she survive on an island far away, but that she could thrive so much she never wants to leave it (much to her parent’s chagrin), and that triumphant smile of Claire’s after a test she knew she crushed after all her hard work studying.

Oh man it’s fun to watch that stuff.

And it was fun to watch those girls win, then lose, then win again last Saturday, coming home with the bronze.

All those little triumphs, mingled in with the inevitable failures create growth and beauty that sure is breathtaking.


  1. I love this! I love the beauty of "becoming". I think we sometimes focus on perfection and lose sight of what a beautiful thing it is to watch someone reach and grow. Even my husband. It takes beautiful courage.

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