Why the best memories of motherhood are the ones you can never plan

The other night I was lying in bed with my daughter and husband. Yes, we bed share and it works for us. No, thank you, I’m not interested in why this might be the wrong decision.

By force of habit I like to rest my hand on her back (she’s a tummy sleeper). Slowly, slowly her breathing calmed. Her short, sharp quick inhales and exhales became deeper and more spaced out. She was soon asleep.

At that moment my heart melted. Look, it’s an overused cliché. Very over used, in fact. But let me try to explain the cliche in its most visceral form.

So, believe it or not, I am not naturally this blonde. No, I’m serious. Every now and then (when I can be bothered otherwise I do it myself) I go to a local hairdresser and get him to bleach my naturally dark-blonde locks. It hurts. It hurt A LOT.

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The sensation is one of burning and tingling. Even having water poured over my hair and washing out the bleach does not abate the pain.

The only thing that seems to work is milk. Yes, milk. A tall glass of cold milk. It’s akin to eating yogurt after a spicy meal. I don’t know how or why but it just works. It’s this feeling of total calm. A feeling of complete ease.

That’s how that moment between Georgia and I felt. Like someone had poured a cold glass over milk over my burning body. My heart felt full. It was a physical experience – I could feel the joy blossoming – like a flower – inside my chest.

That moment, that simple moment between my daughter and I, is what I am beginning to realise motherhood is all about.

It is not about the loud moments, but rather, those subtle quiet times where the ebb and flow of life appears to be married in total harmony. It is pure contentment.

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When I’m at work and I feel myself yearning for my little girl (which is happening a lot more as she gets older) I trek back into my memory reserve and sit on that one for a little while. I let the feeling of her tiny tummy going up and down beneath my hand console me. I let the sound of her breathing sit with me.

The funny thing is this wasn’t even a moment which I had amped myself up about. You know before a big event, say a birthday, you make a mental note that you will no doubt come away with plenty of beautiful memories? No doubt you do, but the moments I find myself retreating back to are the ones without any mental preamble. They just happen.

Sometimes even in the dead of the night… just like that one.