am rounding the final bends of active motherhood with only 4 more years to go before I shift into a more passive role. I will NEVER stop being their mother but my relationship with them will and must change.
Perhaps, like me, you started the journey with stars in your eyes and a heart bursting with hopeful expectation.
Those early newborn days were the dawn of a whole new world for me. I held my child, fell so deeply in love, trusting with all my heart that all in order to be a good mother I must generously apply the best of what I knew (worldly pop-psych), and then do opposite of all my parents had done so wrong.
I was a great preschool teacher and babysitter; creative and so much fun– so I would be a great mother too, right? Easy breezy!
And, (if you’re done snorting and laughing now….) you know that NOTHING could be further from the truth…..
Lawd, there were days, the voice of Gone With the Wind’s “Prissy” rang clear in my mind: “I don’t know nothin’ ’bout birthin’ no babies!”
It scared. me. to. death.
Because what none of us is prepared to factor into the equation is the same parent problem God deals with all the time: free will.
About the time I’d get one factor under semi “control”…something else would spring loose and cause internal panic and external chaos.
Did I mention I was terrified? Yeah.
Once I realized how hard…how daily and how endless the challenge was going to be and how ill-equipped I really was, well then, I was terrified of doing it wrong and ..don’t miss this….VERY concerned about what other mothers were thinking about me. Because, of course, they were getting it “right” and nobody invited me to that information meeting.
I honestly believed I was one of the few who felt this way.
I honestly believed I dare not tell anyone how I felt.
I had no idea what to do about colic, night terrors, imaginary friends, tantrums, picky eating, obsessive-compulsive nighttime rituals, home school, dating, college, FAFSA…gah!
And you know what they say in the “big leagues”; you’re only as good as your last “at bat”. Y’all, I couldn’t get it right long enough to cover the distance. I’d be chuggin’ along, juggling responsibilities, chainsaws and feral cats … doing fine until that ONE moment…strike three.
My running joke was “There goes Mother of the Year– again! Dang…I was SO close!”
Truthfully, God has grown and raised me, drawing me closer to Him through this experience than I knew possible. I’m convinced, motherhood, like other relationships, is designed by God supremely for that reason. The other benefits are just icing on the cake.
So, I learned how to calm colicky babies, pray through night terrors, set an extra place for imaginary friends, redirect tantrums, puree veggies into the mac-n-cheese and how to patiently endure the night time routine…a thing of the past I miss so much.
I read, played, got dirty, painted, yelled, cried, laughed, learned, taught, fought, failed, yelled and cried some more…and said I’m sorry….a lot.
I’m amazed. Yes, by what God has done, but also….by YOU. These communities out here online and in real life making themselves accountable and available to one another.
I’m amazed when I see mothers out here sharing and loving in community, leaning on one another for advice and that extra sniff of hope which allows us put two feet back on the lego-strewn floor and try again.
Today, mine are 21, 18 and 14. I’m blown away by the hand of God on our lives and evidenced through theirs. Oh the gracious grace. I see also, I didn’t do as badly as I thought either. Wanna know some secrets I learned?
- Have a humble and teachable spirit; start over 24-7-365 if necessary.
- Bunt, switch hit, steal a base…whatever….just stay in the game.
- Find community, be honest, learn and grow.
And oh Mommas…don’t judge one another; mercy one another, walk side by side and share, share, share. Not only the “pretty” stuff, share the “poopy” stuff too because…well, it’s the fertilizer of life and we need it all to really grow.
There. You are hereby crowned “Mother of the Year” and I leave you with this poem hung on my wall and in my heart for 21 years: