Hatred stirs up conflict, but love covers over all wrongs.
I just lean into this on the regular so as not to drown in mommy-guilt.
I’ve been giving this parenting thing a bunch of thought lately. Okay, I’ve been giving it a bunch of thought since 1985 when I became pregnant with my firstborn. It’s SO hard. The responsibility of raising actual human beings is more than I think I should’ve even been trusted with. I poured myself into it like most mamas do and usually believed I did a less than adequate job most days.
It’s interesting to me that so many of us think we’re alone in this. We think the confidence other mamas display is for real. I always believed their kiddos were sweeter, more polite, more compliant, and felt more loved than our kiddos did because I knew what happened at home when no one was around to see or hear my authentic self. Like the time when I had just begun homeschooling my children, who had never heard me use profanity, and Hannah was being especially whiny. She repeatedly asked me if she could do a bit less than I was requiring for their writing assignment. As we all sat around the kitchen table, my patience wore thin and I threw an empty plastic 2 litre soda bottle across the kitchen, into the garbage disposal side of the sink while yelling an attractive expletive at my daughter. She was forever scarred – I can still remember the looks on their faces – and my additional punishment was that the thrown bottle hit a plastic plate, chipping a piece off that lodged in our garbage disposal blade, resulting in a broken disposal for the next year! I decided unschooling for a few months was a better way to begin our journey after that epic fail. One of my prouder moments as a parent.
Ten years later, we all laugh at that moment in our history together. I like to think that we’ve learned that there can be grace in the face of losing our %@*&! It’s okay that my children know that I am far from perfect, that I need grace. It’s good that they know we all need forgiveness and we all fail each other on occasion. They know that I am in this for the long haul, like most mamas. I will always want healthy relationship with all of our children. I’ve sown this into their hearts and they’ve sown it into mine. It’s what I cling to in the dark days of our relationship now that they are adults, some with spouses, some with children, and all with their own beliefs founded in our home and molded by their individual experiences.
I can think of a BAJILLION times that I messed up in my journey as a mama and it’s difficult for me to remember great moments without questioning myself or minimizing the good stuff. Why is that? Being a mama has been my single most important contribution to this world. It is what I worked the hardest at, got the least worldly reward for, have been beat up for the most by the world and sometimes by the people who should’ve been my biggest cheerleaders. My very best, lovely, sweet, hilarious, embarrassing, sad, satisfying & glorious moments have been my mama moments. I’ve laid into my babies in anger and disappointment (usually more with myself than them). I’ve held them while they cried in bitter disappointment, anger, embarrassment, hurt, fear, and frustration. I’ve proudly cheered them on at countless sporting events, music performances, and activities of various types. I’ve internalized numerous emotional injuries that only my own precious offspring can hurl at their mama, just as any mama reading this can attest to. I’ve lost weeks of sleep waiting for one of them to finally come home or call to say s/he is alright. I’ve spent hours waiting to hear the slightest sound of a seizure in the next room so that I could run in and tell my child that he is breathing just fine and it will be over soon. I’ve become humbled as I accepted that my plan for my children is not always best and I’ve grieved what I thought was to be and been humbled again.
It really is SO hard
and so lovely
and just too many adjectives to list and yet, none of them could do justice to a relationship so deep and complex.
I’ve received more hugs and “I love you’s” than any human being has a right to. I’ve belly-laughed more than most people have had the pleasure of laughing. I’ve watched my children attend to their grandparents lovingly. I’ve seen them care for homeless and needy people with genuine affection and joy. I’ve stood by as they made sure everyone felt included whether or not they “fit in.” I’ve witnessed them extend grace to me, one another and so many others. I’ve experienced more encounters with people than I can count expressing their affection for my children. A mama NEVER tires of hearing what kind, hardworking, funny children she has and if I can brag for just a moment, it happens to me A LOT!
I guess we did some things right…
I love my children more than I ever thought I could love anyone. They are truly a part of me and they always will be. I am blessed to have been chosen as their mama. God must really love me.
Love covers over all wrongs.