Their laughter penetrates the air. Their cries do too. The joyous noises of the day floating on clouds of sunshine and Arizona dust, waiting to settle on my mommy heart. But they never do. The wall of frustration stiff-arms the joy and focuses my attention and heart on other things. Focuses on the “stress cracks” in my life rather than grasping onto the fleeting days of parenting littles.

How does this happen? How does the monotony and loneliness of life overtake the joy that should bubble up from a soul saved by Grace? I don’t know; I look down at my dry and cuticle-bitten hands and wonder, will I ever enjoy this? Will I ever savor and breathe deep the aroma of motherhood and all that it has to offer? Will my attention ever shift from diapers, tantrums, and fatigue to zoom focus on the smiles, giggles, and laughter of the babes borne out my very own body?

My heart aches for the crushed hopes and dreams of those women with mother souls but whose wombs sit empty and will never be filled with life. It aches for the love lost of those mommies with empty beds and cribs and “WHY?!” echoing off empty and dark corners of their hearts. It aches that I have received and yet do not cherish. That I have gifts that are longed for by many, but the weeds of life have choked the joy of it.

I don’t know how to fix it. With wisdom from a soul sister, I know it will be a hard journey trying to figure that out. But it is a path worn deep by the feet of others before me, and in this, I receive comfort. The fear of my heart is that I am alone. That I am the only “bad mother” that has ever longed for the days of singlehood and a good, selfishly long night’s rest.

I look back at my hands. Someday, when wrinkles and age have worn them, I hope to be able to look back with victory over this season of life. I pray one day to know that I finally received joy and be able to breathe a deep breath of gratitude for it all.