I was 26 years old when I became a Mom to little Reagan. She was a 9 1/2 pound sweet little baby who battled colic for four months. The day after she was born was Thanksgiving. The nurses brought her to me and I held her while the tears streamed down my face. It had not been an easy delivery - I had labored for more than a day ending up with a C-section. All this made for a rough recovery, and the first 24 hours were especially difficult. Still, as beaten and broken as I felt, I was so thankful. I whispered only those two words "Thank you" while I held her that morning. After years of trying and a loss along the way, I was overcome with gratitude.
There were many new experiences in those first few years, but I was amazed at how that mother's intuition kicked in right away. In those times when nothing else seemed to work, simply loving my daughter was the last and best resort.
In a few years time, there was Maddie, tiny and sweet and not a bit colicky. Now there were two mouths to feed, more sheets and clothes to change and wash, more little ones to bathe, more discipline, more of everything. My Mom was there once a week during that summer to make sure I was okay and to help out in whatever way she could.
Several years went by and I marveled at how much there was to do. There were always beds to make, always laundry that needed to be done, always meals to prepare, always fights to mediate, always games to play and books to read. I had never realized, never understood, what it would really mean to maintain a household of, much less parent, two children.
And then, of course, we added Hunter. With his sweet chubby cheeks and his easy going personality, I was instantly smitten with him. Adjusting took some time. I came home from the hospital to two girls who missed me, but Maddie in particular was starving for my presence and attention. In the first several minutes after I walked in the door she was a little over-zealous in her need for me and it all sort of ended in both of us crying our eyes out. Mom assured me it would be okay. I wasn't so sure. But it was. We figured it out.
I am a Mom of three kids. I change sheets. I clean up messes dozens of times a day. I make a lot of food. I plan a lot of meals. I buy a lot of clothes. I plan some fun, interesting and educational activities. I oversee homework. I oversee chores. I maintain a safe environment at home. I play games. I read books - sometimes a lot of books. I run their schedule and shuttle the around when need be. I give haircuts. I wipe noses. I change diapers. I pre-view movies or shows they want to see to make sure the content is appropriate. I tuck them in at night. I discipline. I mediate fights. I tie shoes. I zip coats. There's more of course.
I pray. I ask God to send them good friends. I ask God to protect them while they are away from me. I ask God to give me grace as I parent them - to give me the words to say when they ask hard questions. I ask God for heavenly storehouses of patience to pour down upon me. I ask for wisdom. I ask repeatedly for His forgiveness when I mess up.
Many Moms have similar long lists of things they do for their kids. Truthfully, it's probably much longer than any of our other lists. It's a busy job and a high calling and something to take seriously. And one for which you are never completely prepared.
I find myself so many times thinking, "I did not know my Mom did all this!" But she did. She did all that and so much more. When I am wiping noses or making beds, I remember all the hundreds of times my Mom did the same for me. I sort of knew she was doing it, but I didn't realize at the time that it wasn't just her doing what all Moms do. Some Moms don't. And my heart aches at those thoughts. My Mom did. I was immeasurably blessed to have a loving, attentive, smart, humorous, care-giving Christian Mom who filled my life and that of my brother and sister with so much love and grace.
I didn't know what it meant to be a Mom. I had vague ideas, but through these past 7 years of experience I have understood so much more about what a great Mom I have and what a gift every single day of my life with her was and is.
I love you Mom. So grateful for you, for your example, and for your love. Most of all, I am thankful for the faith you wove into every part of your mothering. Happy Birthday!