The reflections of a mother clinging to the 136th chapter
I’m not going to lie, when my children were small, I was young and full of pride. I had taken childcare classes, read parenting books, and observed plenty of other mothers. I knew exactly how I was going to raise my children to confident, blissful perfection.
That was my first mistake.
(Give thanks to the Lord for he is good. His faithful love endures forever.)
I didn’t realize how hard it would be to smile and sing like Mary Poppins when cleaning a totally destroyed playroom that I had just cleaned a few minutes earlier. With clear instructions to stay out of the room because it was bedtime and we had just put everything away.
When I saw the mess, I was neither singing nor smiling, and I still cringe at my reaction to this day.
(Give thanks to the God of gods. His faithful love endures forever.)
No book explained the level of patience and inner peace required to deal with my little angel who woke up screaming for no apparent reason in the middle of the night. For hours. Every night. For six months.
Mary Poppins disappeared around Month Three.
(He remembered us in our weakness. His faithful love endures forever.)
In spite of the hard days, my mothering journey has provided me with the most beautiful and magical moments of my life. There is no drug known to man that could produce the level of high I got from pushing new life into this world. The overwhelming love for those tiny people took over my entire being, and I vowed to be the perfect mother for them because they deserved no less.
Unfortunately, perfection doesn’t exist in this place. Not for me, and not even for them.
(He saved us from our enemies. His faithful love endures forever.)
At some point I realized my children would never get the perfect mother I had envisioned for them. They would not always be blessed with sunshine and roses. They would experience their fair share of thunderstorms and thorn bushes. They would not be raised by Mary Poppins or Mother Theresa or my Facebook friends whose clothes and house are always perfect and pet-hair-and-dust-free. They wouldn’t have even have the luxury of being raised my own mother, and she has come a whole lot closer to perfection than I ever will. My children will only ever have me.
And Mary Poppins I am not.
(He gives food to every living thing. His faithful love endures forever.)
But maybe this is how it’s meant to be. Maybe I am supposed to raise my beloved children in my own best and broken way. Maybe it’s inevitable that I will make mistakes and live with regrets, but I am supposed to remember all those moments I made it to the mountaintop. Moments when a baby would only be comforted by me. Moments when a little boy raced into my arms after school, not caring which of his classmates might see. Moments when a teenaged daughter wrote a story about her best summer ever, and it was a story of a trip taken with me when we missed our turn and found a beach and ate greasy eggs at a diner that stayed open just for us.
Maybe my children need to struggle and fall and try again, just like I did. Maybe they will learn from my mistakes, or maybe they will need to make a few of their own. When they are stubborn or prideful or determined to go their own way, then I will set out to love them with a measure of the grace with which I myself have been loved.
But through it all, they will make me laugh and bring me joy and break my heart and drive me to my knees, so until my final breath I will
Give thanks to the God of heaven
His faithful love endures forever.