It’s seen me at my best moments. It’s seen me at my worst moments. It’s been the toughest, most rewarding, horribly-best role I have ever had. Motherhood is the crazy-hide-in-the-bathroom-wanna-run-away-heart-so-full-of-joy-indescribable kinda love. I’ve just always wanted to be that perfect Mom. It’s what I strived for.
I don’t know what made me value my motherhood by a series of achievements and busyness but I became the Mom that everyone asked “How do you do it?” Looking back, what I really hoped for was someone to sit me down and said “Listen crazy, take it down a notch”. Social media has been a double edged sword in my motherhood journey. It’s been great to connect with other Mom’s, but a constant pressure of how to raise your kids was exhausting. You could read everywhere and see every other Mom, and they told you how to feed your kids, organize your house, schedule your time, decorate, craft, and even spend time with your kids. Did I really need to read about how I should spend time with my kids? No . . . but I did because society made me feel that I wasn’t good enough. I was so obsessed with being the best Mom that I could be that I couldn’t see how much I was actually missing. I didn’t have time for much, including myself or my health.
Go back 3 years. I cleaned every day. I mean I cleaned. Every. Day. I made dinner every day. We barely had money to eat, let alone eat out, but I made 3-4 course dinners. EVERY. DAY. And we ate only on glass plates with silverware that needed to be washed every day. The kids made a craft at least twice a week. I made sure they had “learning time” to work on knowing ABC’s, writing their names, knowing their shapes and colors. I had to bathe them every other day. We lived on a schedule. I was a mix between Captain Hook, a Marine and Martha Stewart. Holiday’s had to be elaborate. I decorated for every season. My house had to look good. My kids had to look good. I had to look good. But no matter how much I did, or how engrossed I was in those routines . . . I never felt like I was living up to my own expectations.
And then my world came crashing down. 2 years ago, a doctor walked in to my hospital room and told me my breast cancer, which we had found out about just two weeks before, had actually spread all over my body. That I likely would never be cured and that they would try to save my life. I didn’t care about being perfect anymore. I didn’t care how clean my house looked, if I made dinner, if we ate off of paper plates, if the kids bathed, if I bathed- being perfect doesn’t matter when you’re very existence is threatened.
Time mattered. Moments mattered. Memories mattered.
All of the sudden, I wasn’t just going through the motions of life. I was living them. Really living them. The wind was like a hug from God himself. The beauty in my twins stopping to smell flowers made me not worry about getting places on time. We slowed down. I appreciated a messy house filled with toys. A book became more than a book. It was an intricate story with real meaning.
I’ll love you forever
I’ll like you for always
As long as I’m living, my baby you’ll be.
I took Stephen out for lunch, who is healing great by the way, and an elderly woman and her older son sat behind us. It reminded me so much of that book. Here I was, being driven crazy by this little boy and yet being so incredibly in love with him. The son helped his mother with her jacket, helped her sit down and they sat and talked as they ate. When they were done, he helped her up, put her jacket on and helped her out the door. Maybe God opened up my eyes to that because I will never have it. I may never have it, but I appreciated that occasion. In that instant I knew, it didn’t matter how perfect that Mother was, or how clean her house was, or how she spent time with her son- he loved her, unconditionally, just the way she was.
The words took on a form to prepare my kids for the day I wouldn’t be around. Someday, I will die, we all will die. Hopefully, God will grant me a miracle and let me stay around for another 50 years, but if not I am okay with that. I am learning to trust that whatever may come to be will be. I appreciate more of motherhood than ever before because of this. I always feared I wasn’t perfect enough, but I am perfect. I am perfectly imperfect. And that is okay with God, and it’s okay with my kids . . . and it’s okay with me.