As most of us probably are doing today, I am thinking about “Mother’s Day”. Thinking about the two amazing people that call me “Mom” and how they prepared me for motherhood. Traditionally, we think about what our mom has taught us in preparation for being a mom. My parents gave me a wonderful childhood – so much so that I couldn’t wait to be a parent. Then God introduced me to Bill – the very special, exactly right person He created to be my husband/friend/the list is long….
When I was pregnant with Beth (and no, this is not going to be a pregnancy review with details) – I had some challenges. I learned that nothing is guaranteed, and life is indeed fragile and precious. I learned how important it is to keep your toilet clean, because you never know when you are going to inspect it – up close. I learned how wonderful Minute Maid lemonade and King Dons could taste, especially with cucumbers/onions/and the Dumont dressing. I learned how to push back and stand up for my health (and that of my unborn child) when stress became overwhelming. Finally, I learned that due dates are just estimates, and God’s timing reigns supreme. I remember being terrified of holding that very, very tiny bundle – and realizing that she was dependent on us for everything. I was fascinated at how much personality and attitude could be packed into 3 pounds. And so, my opportunity to be called “Mom” was born. Fortunately, she was (and still is) strong and resilient, and was very patient while I learned how to fill the “Mom” shoes. I remember one of the baby cards we received, probably at a baby shower for her. It said something to the effect that babies are a gift from God – he loans them to us for a while, entrusting their care to us – but reminding us that they are His children first. That has stayed in my heart and mind. We have been so blessed by these two incredible children He entrusted us with.
During my pregnancy with Walter (and by now, I was pretty sure that pregnancy was synonymous with ‘time of learning and preparation’), I discovered how wonderful Brussels sprouts tasted, as well as maple flavored oatmeal. Both of which were on my least favorite food lists prior to this. I learned the various benefits of many different antacid preparations, and was grateful to NOT have morning communes with the toilet bowl. I was introduced to stretch marks, and amazed at the stretching capacity of skin. Around 6 or 7 months, I learned that when you can’t walk, you crawl – and you make it a game with your two-year old and the family dog. We three saw everything from ground level – and learned patience; and marked pregnancy progress by my belly’s ground clearance. About this time, I learned that quiet 2-year olds should probably be checked on, and purple crayons are not toxic to dogs – and Shelties look pretty cool with purple teeth. And, once again, I was reminded that due dates were just estimates, and to learn to be flexible. I learned that a quiet delivery room after birth is a scary thing. Then I started learning about being a mom to a son, and I learned that having two children to love doesn’t divide the amount of love you have to give – it more than doubles what you have.
During all of this, Bill was rock solid. Just what God knew would be necessary. I knew too much about what could go wrong with kids courtesy of my pediatric nursing experience. Bill knew about faith and resiliency.
This year, I received priceless gifts from the kids and Bill. Letters from their hearts that made me cry – a whole bunch. I am in constant awe of the accomplishments of Beth and Walt – their integrity, faith, compassion, commitment, love of life, patience…the list goes on. They, just like their dad, are shining beacons of what I aspire to be. Heck, I like just hanging around them because of who they are, what they are, and how much fun they are – and live in hope that their goodness rubs off on me. (I am in constant awe of Bill simply because he tolerates me!)
Back to the letters. Some of the gratitudes and inspirations that the kids and Bill shared were times that I would have considered to be NOT my best efforts at being a mom. But they didn’t see it that way. I didn’t realize how closely they were watching me (and do you know how scary that is to think about?). So many times I have wished that I could have a ‘do-over’ and not say what I did, be more patient, be more health-conscious, be more or be less of so many things. That is not possible. Instead, I’ll just be grateful for the blessings I have, the fact that the kids saw good things and understood the not so good, and the abundant grace in my life. And I’ll take the lessons I learned and try to be more patient, more health-conscious, less judgmental, more giving, less taking.
Now, I’m going to settle in and watch them grow some more!