There are so many mothers I know right now. Mothers younger than me, mothers older than me. All of them putting their babies above everything else. Except those mothers that I probably won’t write about, because we all know there are some bad ones. I digress.
Mothers are complicated. They want their children to be happy and at the same time they want them to learn valuable lessons. You want to hug your kids until they’re 87 years old and at the same time you want them to ride a bike without training wheels, make friends with appropriate peers, and choose raw broccoli dipped in spinach dip over a bag of Doritos by the time they’re 5.
Sometimes I think we can’t have everything. Kids are going to make mistakes, do their own thing, not listen to you (me?) and sometimes they will not particularly care for us. Me included. That’s okay, sometimes I don’t care for me either. What I really want is for my children to care for themselves. To realize that they need to take a good look at their own lives. Decide what makes them happy and what makes them crazy, and follow the happy path and drop whatever detours and bumps in the road there are that make them crazy. I know when they’re 50, they’ll shake their heads and say, “Why did I worry about that? Why did it make me nuts?” And they’ll move on.
This stuff takes time. That’s why they call it “life.”
I’ve been very fortunate. I had a mom I began to understand when I was about 40, but I did understand her eventually. She wasn’t demonstrative. I’m not really sure she ever actually said “I love you” to me. But you know what? She never had to. I always knew she wanted what she thought was best for me. She worked her butt off so that I could have white shiny go-go boots when I was in elementary school. She tried to sew, not great, but she did it. She tried to cook and bake and she made me laugh.
A mother is a role model. Being a role model is a gargantuan task. It’s life changing. It’s like getting hit by lightning. It’s important. As I get older, every single day I think about how important this job is. I see it in my kids as they get older. The older they get, the more they listen. And the more they listen, the greater the importance of me saying the right thing. This is no picnic. It’s life work.
Motherhood is lifelong, for me and for my kids. There’s so much to say and we have to choose words carefully, at the right time, in the right place. The significance of it all hangs over my head, in my psyche every single day. Can I get an Amen?
God knows I need an Amen. And maybe one of those prophetic Mary visits. Just saying.