It’s Mother’s Day again. Another year has passed.
My gifts were amazing. Pearl Earrings. A BBQ where I got to do absolutely nothing. A fun book about parenting that I have been wanting for a while. Handmade creations from both my babies. A potted plant and a hand-picked weed bouquet. So fun. So thoughtful. So perfect. And I truly love that there is a day set aside to celebrate the challenges and joys that come with having the title “Mother.”
But to be honest, there is something I wanted more than gifts or money or flowers. As much as I enjoy those things and love to feel doted on, what I really wanted is so much more than that.
See, when my kids were born, I just wanted to be a good mom.
I wanted to be better than good. I wanted to be extraordinary, exceptional at mothering these two beautiful souls I have been entrusted with.
I wanted to be the very best.
I wanted to raise my kids in a stable home filled with peace, wisdom, and understanding at all times. I wanted to raise them with the incredible experience of a healthy two-parent relationship to look at and model as they grew. I wanted to raise them with a patient mom who never raises her voice. I wanted to raise them with a mom who was able to stay cool headed and always knew how to discipline them correctly. I wanted to raise them in the moment, keeping in mind that everything is so, so incredibly temporary. I wanted to be the mom that always knew what to say, how to respond to anything.
Not the single, overworked, super tired and irritable mom. Not the mom who matches my children’s tantrums with one of my own. Not the mom who locks myself in timeout because I can’t handle the fighting anymore. Not the mom who cries while doing dishes after a hard day. Not the mom who is always hurrying them, badgering them, nagging them. Not the mom who manages them like a to-do list, check marked and tossed aside at night before tomorrow begins. Not the mom who has no idea what I am doing most of the time. Not the mom who feels like I always get it wrong and everyone else gets it right.
I wanted to be more. Be better. Honestly, I wanted to be the best.
I wanted more time. More time to get more things right and less things wrong.
I wanted more time to realize what is really important, to pay attention to the moments that matter. More time to leave the things that don’t matter and spend those precious moments with them.
More time to snuggle, more time to pray, more time to discuss life and love and important things. More time to breathe in the scent of a preschooler, more time to scratch the back of a nine year old.
More time to surprise them, to slow down, to enjoy them. More time to just be.
And now? I just want another chance.
I didn’t ask, not once, to come stumbling into parenthood with all this baggage. I didn’t want the messes my parents loaded me up with before they sent me packing. I didn’t want the triggers, the broken places, the gaping wounds and the thick scars. I never asked to raise my kids by myself. I didn’t want any of this for them.
My heart’s desire, since the day they were born, is for them to know good, remember the sunny days, think of how much I loved them, realize how precious and unique and incredible they are. I want to raise children who are kind, responsible adults, able to think clearly and logically and make choices that benefit themselves and others. I desperately, passionately, wildly wanted them to know the depths of my love, the effort that I have put into mothering them.
I wanted them to grow up in a safe place, able to trust and love and dream and believe. I wanted them to know that it’s a great thing to try, a better thing to fail and worth it all when you fly.
And, this morning, when I woke up… all I wanted was to know that I hadn’t failed. That I hadn’t ruined the little people I am raising. That they know, beyond anything, that they are loved, in spite of all the times I have raised my voice, or told them I needed space, or sent them away when they just wanted to cuddle, because I was “too busy.”
All I wanted for Mother’s Day was just a little reassurance, a little moment that proved to me that I am doing okay… that they are going to be okay.
I think that might be something we all need, every mother. We need grace, we need moments, we need someone to let us know that “Hey, mama, you are good. You are doing okay. Your kids will turn out alright.”
We need to know that our faults aren’t too many and our fears are unfounded.
We need to know that we don’t have to measure up to anyone else’s norms or standards, but that we are enough, all on our own.
We need to be loved and accepted and challenged, and then just loved some more.
We need someone to reassure us that when our entire world seems to be crashing down around us, it’s life’s way of falling together.
We need to know that we are forgivable in our worst moments and that we shine bright in our best.
We need a heart realization that the past cannot be changed, that the future will come regardless, and that this moment, the moment we are standing in right now, is the only one that really matters.
We need to know that the deep soul ache we feel for something more, something bigger, is the realest version of who we are.
Because we are enough. We are covered with grace. We are more than we realize. An if we could just look at ourselves through our children’s eyes, we might see a glimpse of this glory that is motherhood. If we could peek for a moment through the lenses of our children, we could see that the love, the effort, the heart, everything that we pour into them is truly filling their little lives, and we might rest a little easier.
We don’t know how to do it all, and we never will. But we can be here. Right now. We can see them the way they are in this moment. We can choose love over everything else.
Pondering the past can’t help us, and worrying about the future only leaves us in a state of anxiety. But here, in this moment our soul is free to be, to make choices, to care, to love.
And each moment is so precious. I am going to savor a few with my kids now before they go to bed. Here are a few of my favorites from the trip home today:
Jaymin: (singing and looking at Jaylah) “You’re beautiful, you’re beautiful”
Jaylah: “You think I’m pretty, Bubby?”
Jaymin: “No, I think you’re beautiful. That’s like being pretty AND good!”
Jaylah: “MOMMY, MY BROTHER THINKS I’M PRETTY!”
Jaymin: *huge sigh*
Jaylah: “Mommy, are you still upset with me?”
Me: “No, I just wanted you to listen and behave earlier and I was very disappointed by your behavior.”
Jaylah: “Well, mommy, I am very sorry I wasn’t listening. I just got distracted and I couldn’t. But for Mother’s Day, I am going to listen the whole day. Are we going home yet?”
Me: “That would be the very best Mother’s Day present! And yes, we are going home now.”
Jaylah: “Oh good! I was so excited to come here, but now I am excited to go home because I want to snuggle with you!”
And she REALLY listened the rest of the day, as well as her and Jay cleaning the entire house when we got home, unpacking and starting the laundry.
Little moments of reassurance. That’s all I need to keep going.
What are some moments you have had recently where your kids reassured you by their words or actions?