Mommy Arms

IMG_5104 copyI recently had the blesséd privilege of spending two weeks in the home of a family of nine who was welcoming home a new, baby sister.

It was a season of firsts for me: first time watching a newborn grow and shape-shift daily; first time watching up-close as a beautiful mother suffered through the chapping and cramping that come in the first weeks of breastfeeding; first time helping older brothers and sisters transition and process the change that comes with a new family member in the house; first time tutoring an almost seven-year-old through her math lesson; and first time stripping and washing bedsheets which had been wetted.

It was also the first time I stood in a kitchen holding a baby for close to an hour-and-a-half and realized that my arms weren’t shaking.

You see, it always happens. Within ten minutes of holding any baby, my arms begin to vibrate. Even though I lift eleven times that baby’s weight over my head every day in the gym, the plyometric activity of holding a tiny baby for mere minutes makes my arms begin to shake. It always embarrasses me when that happens, for it is a physical, tangible, public reminder of what I do not hold every day in my own home. I do not have mommy arms.

And the hardest part of finally earning mommy arms is that they feel terribly empty when you have to go back to your own home.