Heart Work

     Before I became a parent, I was constantly told what hard work it was to have kids. I saw the lack of sleep, chaos, mess, lifestyle change and general upheaval that came with children. 

     But what I did not see and what no one could have ever explained was that parenting is not just hard work. It's heart work. 

     I was not prepared for the worry. The fatigue that comes from constant vigilance. The exhaustion that comes from always wondering about what things might befall my kids. That you are only ever as happy as your least happy child.

     No words could have prepared me for the sensation of having my heart living outside of my body. Walking around, falling down, making mistakes, getting hurt, learning, loving, growing...

     No words could have described just how full and overflowing my heart would get when my children smiled their first toothless smiles at me, learned to do something new, lost a first tooth, got all shiny eyed at fireworks, play wrestled with their Daddy, piled in bed with me in the morning, rubbed sleepy eyes with pudgy little fists, giggled at the word 'butt', showed love to another...

     No words could have described just how tight and heavy my heart would become when my children got their hopes dashed, their hearts broken, their knees scraped, discovered disappointments, had hurt feelings, looked up at me through heavy tear soaked eyelashes, made mistakes...

     And no words could have described just how much it would all be worth it. 

     My heart often feels like it has been pushed to the max. Like it has swelled and tightened too many times. Been airily light then unbearably heavy. 

     It works out. A lot. This ol' heart of mine.

     Being a parent is heart work.