Being a mom is one of my very favorite thing to be. It really isn’t a secret, if you know me, this is one of the things you must know. For all of my fellow moms, step-moms, grandmas, aunts, surrogates, and “like-a-moms”out there, Happy Belated Mother’s Day! This one is for you…
About a month ago I watched my kids head out the driveway together with my son at the wheel of his “new to him” wheels and that snippet of a thought, there goes my life, flashed through my mind as did the mom mantra prayer of safety. “Please Lord keep them safe and bring them back home to me.” There goes my life…these two growing up versions of the babies that I have been pouring myself into for the last decade and a half just had just flown from the nest for their first time, completely solo, unaccompanied, unsupervised, un-“momed.” There goes my life…a sappy country song from way back about kids growing up that made my eyes leaky on this particular afternoon.
We are deep in the trenches of “in-between.” This is that place where all of the hard work of little ones is paying off but now, with the finish line in sight, we’re in an all out sprint to be our best parent-selves, creating as many memories, and imparting as much wisdom as we can to these pieces of our heart before we turn them out to their own-ness in the world.
Every stage of mothering is difficult. These days are harder in a different way than from when they were teenies. The days themselves pass easier than the little days. In fact, part of the problem I think, is that they pass too fast and easy. There is still so much I want to say, to teach, and to hold onto and it’s like trying to keep sand from slipping through your fingers. Looking back at the sleepless nights, crying jags, and hard discipline, and then ahead to what I am sure will hold sleepless nights, crying jags, and hard discipline I realize what a cycle mothering is. It’s shushing, and hand holding, and doing the hard things “for their own good” that make your heart break. And praying and praying and praying, for their soul, their safety, and your own sanity.
I love (and deeply identify) what AnnVosKamp had to say about mothering. I think we all need to hear it, not just with our ears but with our hearts. It’s not just a message for Mother’s Day but for everyday.
“Because I ain’t no Hallmark mother – and none of us are, if we’re being really truth-telling here. If we’re honest – and what else is there really – there were burnt dinners and yelling mornings, and neck strained words over lost shoes and scattered Legos and unfinished homework and there were crumpled tears behind bathroom doors.
Not to mention the frozen pizzas and no clean underwear and the wild words no one would want the camera rolling for.
And the realization – that a mother’s labor and delivery never ends and you never stop having to remember to breathe.
What you really want is to be extraordinary, obviously good at this. At this mothering thing.
You wanted to be the best at this. You wanted to be more.
You wanted to be more patient – you wanted to never lose it, to always have it together, to keep calm and that is all, always, and yeah, take their tantrums with a grain of salt instead of throwing one of your own that turned out to be a first class tsunami and a tad bit more dramatic than theirs. You wanted more flashes of wisdom in the heat of the moment when you had no bloody idea what was the best thing to do, when you flung up an S.O.S prayer and you crawled into bed feeling like a heel who always gets it wrong when everyone else gets it right.
You’d about give your eye teeth and your left arm for more time. More time to get it more right and less wrong.
More time so that you could leave that one more thing that ended up not mattering a hill of beans in the long run, so you could take the time to lay there in the dark with them after prayers and talk about the deep things that only come in the exhale of the last light out, and rub their back till they fall asleep.
More time to not hurry them, badger them, nag them, or manage them like some to-do list that needs to get stroked off, done and tossed before tomorrow’s start s again – but just more time to slow down, smile into them, simply enjoy being.
What you really want, desperately, wildly, in spite of everything – is for them to remember the good…to remember enough of the times you whispered, “I Love You”…to know how many times you broke your heart and how hard you really tried.
What every mother wants, her most unspoken need – is a truckload of Grace. Grace that buries her fears that her faith wasn’t enough, and that her faults were too many.”
So what do we do?
“Find each other and hold onto each other and offer the hug of the broken who know the relief that homemaking is about making a home, not perfection, that motherhood is a hallowed space because children aren’t commonplace, that anyone who fosters dreams and labor prayers is a mother to the child in us all.
We’ll be the holding on broken who know that it’s not that we won’t blow it but it’s what we’ll do with it afterwards, whose priorities aren’t things that get us noticed, but priorities are all Things Unseen, who keep praying to only speak words that make souls stronger and keep getting up when we fall down because this is always how things just fall together.
And there will be tears and there will be laughter – because what messes our life up most – is the expectation of what our life is supposed to look like – and there will be a mess of dishes in the sink and a pile of laundry and the clock will just keep on ticking and we’ll grab onto someone right in the kitchen and just hold on and let go.”
We can do this…maybe not as well as we’d like, but with the gift of Grace, the release of our expectation of what it is supposed to be and the holding on broken hug of a commiserator, we can do this mothering thing. It takes a village!