Some days my whole life smells like peanut butter. It’s not necessarily a bad smell, just persistent and prevalent with mild hints of glue, sweat, and baby wipes. It’s the smell of kid.

These are the kind of days that my girls bring home play dates who won’t eat what I’ve prepared for lunch, and a full carton of milk gets spilled under the refrigerator, and a mouse gets caught in the “have a heart trap” my husband set before he left on his overnight trip, and an innocent attempt to appease (and quiet) my children leads to an hour-long bath trying to remove bubble gum from three thick and golden locked girls.

I am becoming who I hoped I would be

By the time I collapse into bed, not failing to collapse on an open tube of blueberry-bubblegum flavored lip-gloss; the smell of kid is thick enough to cut.

The truth is, I love it. I always imagined myself as a Momma, sweat and peanut butter and all. In fact, aside from being a philanthropist, being a mother was the only thing I was sure I wanted to be when I grew up.

I remember one day sitting on a bench in the Old City of Tsfat watching life go by. A beautiful woman strolled through the square, with a long flowing skirt and a sweet bald headed baby strapped to her back. Her baby was holding crackers and methodically smashing them into crumbs and applying them with delicacy and precision to his adoring mother’s neck and shoulders. And I couldn’t help but think to myself, “she looks so cool.” I took a mental picture of her swaying by me, purposeful, peaceful, grounded, and beautiful, and said to myself, “I want to look like that one day.”

Over a decade has passed since that day in the square, and at the moment, I wouldn’t exactly say I look “cool.” It’s 12:30 in the afternoon and I’m still in my pajamas. I’m carrying my bald headed beauty in utero, which definitely has a certain mystique, but only when I wear maternity clothes, otherwise I just look like I need to do some sit-ups. I am doing my best to hold a commanding role in the “peaceful” department, but can’t claim to have mastered that yet. But, in all ways that really matter, I can safely say that I am becoming who I hoped I would be.

I suppose it is a blessing to feel this way.

Finding sanctity in the mundane and humor in the absurd is what it is really all about. Ultimately, being a mother is all about stretching. Stretching beyond our self- imposed limits and fears, stretching even further into unquenched ambitions and dreams, and even further still into the realm of action and actualization. It’s definitely not easy, but it is good.

I had a cleaning help today. The bathtub and toilets and floors have been scrubbed, the dishes are clean, and the laundry is folded. My house looks and smells fresh and clean. It feels organized, and tidy, and quite frankly, it feels wonderful.

The kids will be home soon. When they arrive, like the tides at sea, the look, feel and smell of our home will gradually change. Soon, the floor will scuff and backpacks and shoes and jump ropes will find their way to the most unlikely of places. The crispness and cleanliness will lose its potency. But there will be a sense of life and joy in our home that was absent when they were away. The smell of kid will permeate every corner of our little home, and I will love every whiff of it.