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This Is What Bonds Us Most in Motherhood

Photograph by Twenty20

It's easier to forget than you realize.

When you're deep in the trenches of motherhood, juggling feeding schedules and nap schedules and carefully checking off your child's developmental milestones, the days tend to seamlessly melt into one another as the months and years pass by quicker than we could ever imagine. As a mom of three who's only now beginning to emerge from the rabbit hole of raising babies and toddlers, it breaks my heart to reflect on just how much I cannot remember about the last six years of my life—and how quickly the moments that once felt so consuming have escaped my memory.

That's why a recent Facebook post written by Jess Paulson has resonated so deeply with me and comforted me in a way I didn't even realize I needed. In the post, Paulson (pictured) describes the unique relationship she's formed with an elderly resident who suffers from dementia at the nursing home where her grandmother lives and the invaluable lesson she's learned from her.

Photograph by Sweet Shibui Photography

The resident, who often joins Paulson as she walks up and down the hallways with her young son, Brooks, fashions a sling for a teddy bear out of a sweatshirt and whispers lullabies as she slowly rocks the bear, mimicking Paulson's every move.

"We pace the hallways, me with Brooks, her with teddy baby. And I am reminded of this here—it is what’s burned deep in our souls, the days we long to be in the thick of, forever. When you are no longer able to recall your own name, yet remember THIS," writes Paulson.

Paulson tells that she visits her grandmother a couple times a week and began developing a relationship with the resident about a year ago when her son was a newborn.

"It didn't matter what she was doing, as soon as I arrived, she would gravitate toward me and the baby. It started with her staring, from a safe distance, singing lullabies. She's German, so she whispers these soft lullabies in another language, and it is absolutely beautiful," Paulson says.

"There is an unspoken bond between mothers," she continues. "No matter how we mother, where we mother, our age, our race—it's as if the woman that is born when the baby is, is born into this alternate place of existing, a cherished sisterhood." Paulson tells us that her biggest takeaway from this unique relationship has been the gentle reminder that life is short and that these days of rocking babies to sleep and singing countless lullabies are gold.

Being a mom can often feel incredibly isolating and lonely, but remembering that we all struggle, we all cry, we all have days that feel impossibly long and challenging, and harnessing that energy into building each other up, instead of tearing each other down, is what strengthens the bonds of this unique sisterhood.

"From the woman in Target, who with a simple glance gives you encouragement when your toddler is inconsolable, to the woman who doesn't know her name anymore yet knows her deepest, truest identity is in mothering—it's in those moments I'm reminded most of this unspoken bond," Paulson tells us. "Free of pressure, judgment and guilt—just love."

Love. That's what I hope to remember.

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