Sunday, May 10, 2015

Dear Kids,

Dear Kids,

So, it's Mother's Day, and just like every year I think it was the best Mother's Day ever. I mean, you didn't make me coffee, you still fought like alley cats, and none of you helped me clean out the van, BUT, you each gave me a hug and made me feel loved, and that's all I really ever need.

I hesitate to tell you all this because it could lead to disappointment next year, but I actually don't ever need a gift on Mother's Day. I know it will sound cliche, yet I am sincere when I say that you are each gift enough for me. I didn't know it until I was knee deep in breast milk and diaper wipes that being a mother was what I always wanted to be when I grew up. When I became a mother it was as if a key had unlocked a door that I didn't know existed and my true self was let out, or if not let out then enhanced. You each have made me better, deeper, softer, and more transparent than I could have been on my own.

You remember the story of the Velveteen Rabbit that I read to you when you guys were little? The one that always made me cry? The one about the rabbit who was loved so much he became real? See, I am the velveteen rabbit.

Thankfully you haven't loved off all of my hair yet, but I'm sure that day is coming.

The way you all love me inspires me, cures what ails me, and helps me to see myself the way that you do. When you were newborn babies and my body had gone thick and spongy the pure adoration in your eyes made me forget what I thought of myself. You think I'm beautiful and I can't help but feel beautiful under your admiration. Thank you for that.

I see how willing you are to learn, how eager you are to please and it encourages me to be the same. How can it be that I forget how amazing the world is? It is so fun to learn with you and from you, to explore new places, taste new foods, and find new songs to love with people like you. I never understood it when other mothers complained that their children sucked the life from them, that they felt that they had lost themselves when they became mothers. I felt like I found myself after I became a mom. I felt passion about issues, fell back in love with reading, became unafraid of meeting new people. Its hard, sure, but that's what I signed up for. What I did not expect was that being with young people, you people, is so fun! Even on the days when we yell and go to bed exasperated I can't wait to do it all again the next day.

After coffee, of course.

I thought mothering would be about teaching you right from wrong or to make up your beds or feeding you balanced meals. I had no idea that mothering is a kind of never-ending boot camp where instead of doing pushups in the mud you're scrubbing toilets and cleaning up piles of puke. Your drill sergeant is a tiny person whose demands must be met in spite of sleep deprivation.

Mothering has given me joy unspeakable. I have precious memories of first smiles, first baths, counting toes, and singing songs over and over until little eyes closed. I had no clue, though, that this journey would take me where it has. There were times when I was tempted to feel alone, to feel sorry for myself and then I would shake it off and realize that I was not alone - I had you four children. We took walks together, shared picnics, visited friends, went to doctor appointments - there was nothing we did not do together. I wouldn't have had it any other way.

Except in the bathroom. I would desperately like to be alone in the bathroom.

The name 'Mom' must give supernatural fearlessness because I feel so brave when you call to me. In the night or whenever  you need reassurance all of my fears are gone because all I want is for you to feel safe. There is no length I will not go to maintain your security. I would not hesitate to go Rick Grimes on someone who threatened you.

You kids make me brave in other ways, too. I don't want you to have my weird fears (you can have your own, thank-you-very-much) so I force myself to ride escalators and roller coasters to help you be brave, too. You may not believe this but forcing you to do things you don't want to do takes an act of courage, too. It would be much easier for me to let you stay safe with me all of the time but like a mama bird I know when I need to push you out of the nest. How else would you know how amazing it is to fly?

Thanks to you four kids I know God way more intimately than I might have. My prayers for your lives first drew me to my knees in complete supplication, then later as you got older your temperaments (or maybe mine) encouraged me to cry out to God for assistance. I'm thankful for that time on my knees because I slowly learned the truth that you are not mine forever but for a time. My job isn't to keep you caged and safe but to help you become who God designed you to be. Easier said than done, but I think we're doing okay.

Thanks for a great Mother's Day, dudes. Thanks for loving me like you do.



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