No one told us mothers that when our beautiful newborns are placed in our arms for the first time, this moment that feels like heaven and the weight of the world all at the same time, something else is happening too.

A motherhood sandglass is metaphorically handed to us, placed vertically, and a timer that we never knew existed begins counting the seconds, minutes, and days of this relationship together.

Each granule of sand is made up of laughter, tears, fear, love and incredible memories.

The sand, and its pragmatic counterpart time, begin to flow.

In the beginning, motherhood time feels like it barely moves, similar to the hardly noticeable movement of sand through a freshly flipped hourglass.

Time feels like it is standing still as a young mother experiences so many more minutes in the day than she ever had- the sacred minutes of 3am stillness, the minutes of nourishing another human being, the minutes of basking in the awe and wonder of this new life.

The sand in this hourglass feels as if it will last forever.

Just as the sandglass heats up and the sand flows faster towards the end, time feels like it moves faster once our precious children enter school and sports, and life becomes much more hurried.

The sacredness of the full hourglass is seemingly expended through the hustle but we’re simply too busy to notice that time is passing by.

This may be the world’s best protective mechanism for our hearts.

If we actually had the time to notice how quickly time is passing by through these joyous years, we may find ourselves crying in a heap in the corner rather than basking in the joy of it all.

Then something amazing happens right around our child’s 9th birthday.

Just at that moment when we begin to realize how “big” they are getting, we are gifted more time.

The half-way point, the second half, the downside of the mountain.  The hourglass runs out, flips over and resets. A new chapter begins — The golden years of childhood.  

Capturing sticky popsicle face pictures, enjoying 3-hour hikes to look at every insect on a 1-mile trail and laughing until you cry over family games fills these golden years of childhood with a nectar that is sweeter than anything you’ve ever known.

With a full, newly flipped hourglass, this time feels luxurious and as if this time will continue forever.

The truth is —you kind of hope it will. 

You take comfort in feeling and knowing that you have plenty of time with this priceless gift of yours in the nest. Your time feels expansive. After all, you’ve only just flipped your hourglass.

As the birthday parties add up and the candles are blown out over the years, the motherhood hourglass sand continues to descend.

With each grain of sand that falls, the ones remaining begin to feel even more precious. 

As much as I wanted to hold onto my infant in those early days, I am finding myself, with a freshman and a junior in high school, counting my grains of sand so carefully.

I want to make every granule count. I want to hear every story they have to tell. I want to bask in overhearing my years of parenting coming out of their mouths as they counsel their friends. I want to help them navigate their daily lives to prepare them for their nest launch.

Part of me wants to place my hourglass on its side to pause this moment and savor every bit of it.

The other side of me is so thrilled to see how they will go out and make this world a better place- my only true lifetime assignment for them.

When I was a new mother, exhausted and depleted from caring for my newborn and shouldering an entire hourglass of sand, older women would see me in the coffee shop and say,

“It goes fast honey, savor it.”

I would look at them through tired, bloodshot eyes with the confidence of my full hourglass behind me and politely smile, while internally dismissing them.

“How could this go fast? I’m up 20 hours a day.”

Now I get it.

The hourglass continues to run regardless of our noticing it.

But it never runs out.

It continues to flip at each new life chapter.

It flips at graduation as you experience the uniquely meaningful adult grains of sand with your child of moving into an apartment, navigating single life and planning a wedding.

And then the day will arrive when your child will welcome their own child into the world and they receive their own hourglass and yours will flip over once again.

To begin again…
To mother again…
To savor each grain of sand in this continual hourglass of motherhood.      
Join me for this week’s Mother’s Day meditation  to heal your own heart and to bring in a completeness to your life that you may have never experienced before.

Have a wonderful Mother’s Day.