Every year Mother’s Day sneaks up on me and I am never quite prepared. I blame it on the fact that it always falls within the last few weeks of school and we are in the middle of a total balancing act. We have sporting events, banquets, concerts, try-outs for next year’s teams, and band, and back when I taught I was trying to get my grades done and keep lots of school kiddos from losing their minds. I always try to reflect on my past year and all the things that have come my way as a mom, and I also miss my own mom desperately, because after so many years without her, it never gets easier. So here I am, late as usual, trying to keep it together, pondering so many things.
When I was a little girl, I always new that I wanted to be a mom. I loved my younger siblings and baby cousins, and always wanted to hold all of the babies I could get my hands on. It seemed like it was something that everyone did. You grew up, you got married, and you had babies. I realize that this sounds “old school,” but it’s the truth. A mom, I wanted to be a “mom!” When you’re young, you think motherhood is about holding cute, chubby little babies. You have no idea what the actual job means. I never in a million years would have guessed what this unbelievably difficult task would require of me.
I never knew that this would require my body, I mean every square inch of my body, to stretch well beyond it’s comfortable capacity. I didn’t know that I’d be left with stretch marks, and scars, and that no matter how much weight I lost, when looked in the mirror I would never look the same again. I didn’t know that my feet, ankles, and knees could merge into one from swelling, and that shoes would no longer fit on my feet. I didn’t know that my nose would swell and make me look like Worf from Star Trek, and if you don’t know who that is, look it up, hysterical. I didn’t know that I could feel that sick for that long, or that the foods I loved I would come to hate, and the foods I hated I would crave constantly. I didn’t know that certain smells would send me running to get sick, and also I would have a sense of smell that was so acute, I could smell things two miles away. I didn’t know I could eat so many deviled eggs in one sitting, or that I could spend so much money on blueberries and grape tomatoes, which I ate by the hundreds it seemed.
I didn’t know that the second my baby was put into my arms, everything I had ever known was about to change forever. How could this one little human make me the most vulnerable person on earth. How could I know from the second that I gazed at that tiny little face that I would take a bullet, jump in front of a car, and go completely batshit crazy if I thought that anyone was trying to hurt him. Death sounds like an easy trade off, if it keeps my children from harm. I didn’t know that I would become a completely irrational crazy lady if my child’s feelings were hurt. Thank God I made myself “sleep on it,” before losing my mama bear mind on someone else, countless times. (Well, other than a few moments I’m not proud of!)
I didn’t know that I could look at the face of my children and be so hopelessly in love. I didn’t know that I would cry as they were growing up, when their faces changed, but I could still see that innocent little person from long ago behind their eyes. I didn’t know that even when their behavior was less than desirable, I still wanted to grab them up and kiss their cheeks, and hug them so tightly they might break. I didn’t know that their curiosity and sheer wonder of life, would make me look at things as if they were new all over again. I mean after all, the moon is pretty freaking cool!!! I didn’t know that all of the “lasts” would be the last, and I wish I would’ve paid closer attention. I wish I would’ve played with them more, worried about the house work less, and didn’t miss things when I was too exhausted to move. I didn’t know that a personality could be changed by the hatred of others and that I would feel responsible for every single tear, and heartache that my children experienced when these hard moments happened. I am still in shock that no matter how old they get, with one spoken word, I can tell when something is wrong.
I didn’t know that watching them get their heart broken would be ten times worse for me. They are called crushes for a reason, but it crushes the mamas just as much. I didn’t know that the pride that I felt when they learned to walk, potty on the potty, say their first word, and ate solid food, would be nothing compared the pride that came when they learned to ride a bike, scored their first goal, hit a triple, had a solo in dance, graduated high school, got into the college they wanted, and met their first love. I didn’t know that no matter how old they get I always want them to trust me, talk to me, and say they love me. And when they don’t, I cry in my room so they won’t see my tears. I didn’t know that being a mom would put everything in perspective, but be the biggest gamble of my life. I didn’t know that I could be so angry that my head was literally going to explode, and then in an instant all could be forgiven. I didn’t know that motherhood would be the hardest, and most rewarding job at the same time.
I miss my mom everyday. I miss her hands, I miss her hugs, I miss her smell. I miss that she does not get to see her amazing grandkids achieve their dreams. I miss that I can’t call her for advice, and to tell her I love her. I miss her coming to my house for holidays, and I miss that since she died, the world has not been right. But I also know that she sees me, she lets me know she’s watching over us, and loving us from afar. There is a Jewish proverb that says, “God could not be everywhere, and therefore he made mothers.” This could not be more true. My own mother was a shining example of this.
So as you reflect on your first year, or past years of motherhood, I hope you remember that you are strong, you are important, you are a safe place for them to land. You are their leaders, their teachers, their future friends, their rock, their hand to hold. I remember hugging my mom so tight as a little girl that it took my breath away. I thought I couldn’t love anyone more. But that is only a mere fraction of the love we feel as mothers towards our children. It is the greatest gift of my life.
If you’re still hoping to be a mom one day, I will keep you in my heart and thoughts. If you are struggling in the season of motherhood that you are in, know that it will pass. Hold on tight to every single moment, because it goes faster and faster each year. For all of the things I didn’t know, not one of them matters, because I would do it all again. They are my everything. They are the reason I breathe. They are my miracle, and nothing is better than being their mom.
I didn’t know the love that my mother had for me, until I became a mom, and I’m so humbled. I hope your journey is filled with precious moments each and every day. Cheers and love to you all, sweet moms. I’m so glad that we have each other to share in the happiness, sadness, struggles, and craziness this mom life brings our way. I can’t tell you how amazing you are.