I posted this at MMW also this morning. Thought it was pertinent enought to post here, too.
I’m feeling rather soft and squishy about my children tonight. Somedays I feel I am the one learning and they are the teachers. Not necessarily the older wiser teachers, but the harder, tough teachers that you never forget the lessons you learn from. Ever had any of those? I’ve got three of them here under my own roof.
The woman I used to be was independent, a world traveler, a career chick who had a really fun job, cool and interesting friends, a convertible, nice clothes and a good dye job on the hair. I relished my freedom and independence, I sat in bed on Sunday mornings reading the paper and writing self-indulgent things in my journal while my dog slept at my feet. I had friends over for fancy meals and to try out new, gourmet recipes. I spent my free time with other bohemians who were equally self-indulgent and submerged in relative luxury. Luxury of time, of money, of place and weather. Luxury of friends and career’s and choices and plenty. Luxury of museums and concerts and sunset cruises on the Bay after tiny bistro dinners in the City… Ah, I can still feel it, and on melancholy days, I might even miss it a tiny bit.
The woman I am now… Ah, the woman I am now is so much happier than the woman I was. The previous life sounds glamorous and full and fun- and at times it was. But it was also a whole lot of hollow- years of looking for what I felt was missing. Years of writing in that journal, wishing for a family of my own, wishing for my eternal companion (even though he was right under my nose), wishing for children, wishing for a home, wishing for everything that now occupies my days and often my nights.
From my children and my choosing to be a stay-at-home mom, I have learned more than I ever imagined possible. From the moment Jeffrey was born, he has been teaching me- starting with his body sliding into the world… Came the stunning realization that there really is a God. Nothing in my life has been as impacting and as sure as that moment. From Eric’s birth I learned that my heart could expand indefinitely, that love was not something metered out or finite. From Abby’s birth, I learned my capacity to cope and deal with pain reached far beyond what I thought were my boundaries, and I came out not only alive, but thrillingly so.
Each day, as I watch my children grow and change, visibly metamorphosing, the same thing is happening inside of me. My life is not about me anymore, but the irony is that I am more alive, more myself than I ever was when it was all about me. Motherhood has given me confidence in the face of opposition, a knowledge of my personal resources and how deep they might actually be, lessons in patience repeated over and again, a solid sense of what is really important, the ability to discern and trust my intuition, and faith. Oh, most of all, Faith.
How could any of us mother without faith? How could we get through the long nights and exhausting days without faith? How could we do what we do, over and over, without faith?The Lord gave me the greatest gift when Jeffrey was born. I had been searching for years for answers, but it was not until the very moment his warm, wet body was laid on my stomach that I knew, knew with all my heart, that God was there, that God is real.
As mothers, we walk around in the world watching our hearts live outside ourselves. Tiny bodies holding our very lifeblood toddle off into the great blue beyond, and the vulnerability would be unendurable without Faith.
So today, I thank the Lord for answering my questions in unmistakable ways, and for giving me the gift of these little teachers, who stretch and grow and push me toward my eternal destination. I pray that I am enough of a mother to do the same for them.
Happy Mothers Day to all of you. Go kiss your mother!