No single person that i have ever met loves their birthday more than my mom. She counts down days (& sometimes months) until her special day arrives. She’s giddy when my kids call to sing her “Happy Birthday.” She loves getting presents and cards and candles on cakes and if you throw her a party (especially a surprise party) she’ll be your bestie….forever. So last month, i started a blog post that i was going to publish on her half-birthday to surprise her. And since i couldn’t ever seem to find the time to finish what i started, it inevitably joined so many other half-blog-posts i’ve written in the great blog-post graveyard that has become known as my “drafts” folder. But i’ve decided to resurrect this post & finally finish it…exactly one month after her half-birthday.
When it comes to the dreams of motherhood that i dreamed, there were lots of ways i thought i’d be better at this than my mom was. You see, by the time i gave birth to my first child at the wise “old” age of 24, i had spent just that many years studying her & had taken meticulous notes on all her flaws. The minute they placed that sweet boy in my arms, my heart & head began swelling with the knowledge that i surely had this one in the bag. If i had to sum it all up into a list of ways i would do it “better” than she did, it may have looked something like this:
Also, i would love to talk less….if only they would LISTEN to me the FIRST TIME I SAY THE THING!!! Since they (almost) never do, i am obliged to talk until i am blue in the face. And if they ignore me, i must say it LOUDER. At least once a week i remind my kids that “i yell because i care.” If ever the day comes that i refuse to raise my voice and yell at the top of my lungs until they hear me they may assume that i am either dead or that i no longer love them enough to care that they actually hear me when i tell them about all the horrible things i am protecting them from becoming if they fail to listen to my words.
And as far as listening goes…i listen. All the day long, i listen. i listen about video games, & levels they beat, & pictures they colored, & movie lines that i, too, found hysterical before they quoted them 45 times in one day, & obscure thoughts their brains think about life & godliness. God help me, i listen. & if my children would EVER stop talking i would love to listen to the silence that i can only seem to find at the borderline-obscene hours of 5am & midnight.
As far as being a “friend” goes, that is crap. That’s not my job. Not now, anyway. Because i am the mom. I not only said so, i KNOW so. We can be friends when they have their own kids. The End.
And as for not missing the important stuff…well, that’s one i struggle with. My mom missed a lot. Track meets, awards banquets, honors ceremonies…sometimes it was because she was a single mom working 2 or 3 jobs to make ends meet. Sometimes it was her choice. Consequently, i don’t let myself off the hook easily. i guilt myself if i don’t personally witness every tooth they pull and every goal they score. Missing even ONE soccer practice makes me break out into a cold sweat. & as much as i missed my mom at those events sometimes, smothering my own kids won’t make up for how i felt. So i guess i have to get a life that involves things i love OUTSIDE of my kids….Jesus & i are in deliberations about that one…
My mom wasn’t perfect. Not by a long shot. And I ask the Holy Spirit to constantly remind me that i’m not either. I wasn’t then & I most certainly am not now. But one thing i’ve realized in the past 12 years is that if i do this mother-thing with half as much love, grace, mercy, & forgiveness as she did, i’ll be almost as great at it as she’s been. & i’ll chalk that up as “success”.
Happy one-month-after-your-half-birthday, mom.