Just to give you the background, I’ve been doing quite a bit of thinking about parenthood lately. And it’s mostly motivated by a comment I heard recently. While out running errands a few days ago, I overhead a woman venting to her friend about the tribulations of motherhood. I SWEAR I wasn’t eavesdropping. This woman was VERY frustrated and her volume had risen accordingly. From her comments (while she and her friend were waiting ahead of me in the checkout line) it became clear that she had kids and one of them was a daughter somewhere around the age of 12 or 13. I’m not going to lie – that is not exactly a “fun” age with girls. This mother kept . . . oh, let’s be honest and call it what it was . . . she was complaining. Just as the friend finished paying for the items she had purchased, the cranky mother said something that has stuck in my brain – “After all I’ve done for her, that little brat owes me. Big time.”
That stuck with me. And not in a pleasant way.
So I’m taking this chance to make myself ABSOLUTELY clear:
Esther, Margaret, Janessa and Jay, I want to say to all of you – categorically and without any misunderstanding – that you owe me absolutely NOTHING. Nada. Zilch.
For as long as I can remember, I’ve just known I was going to be a mom. And God got crazy with the blessings and gave me four of the funniest, most creative kids any mom could have. Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t all fun and games. Being up repeatedly with a newborn made for some very tired days. Four children so close in age made the schedule a little crazy at times. Sick kids, cranky toddlers, stubborn temper tantrums, mouthy attitudes, teen-aged angst . . . there were moments that made me want to scream or pull my hair out or put myself in time out just so I could get my head back on straight.
But none of that matters. You don’t owe me a thing. I did not become a parent as a way of setting up some sort of “savings account” that I could tap into down the road. I didn’t create a score card on the day that you were born so I could start tracking the time I spent being a mom. Being your mom has been a privilege. It has allowed me to learn about myself and to grow as a person. It’s taught me that I can solve problems creatively, that my “mom instincts” are pretty good and that the simplest solution is sometimes the best.
I did not do what I did as your mom to “earn points” or set you up for a big payback down the road. I chose to have children and I chose to love each of you unconditionally. Watching you grow, learn, try and fail and try again . . . all of it has brought me more joy than I could ever have imagined. There are many parts of my life that I have loved and many experiences I will cherish. But next to being married to the love of my life, being mom to the four of you is the richest blessing I could ever have hoped for.
I make no pretense about my “mothering skills” – I’ve gotten it wrong as often as I’ve gotten it right. Might have even screwed up MORE. But you have been loved since before I met you and nothing will ever change that. I love you “to the moon and back.”
“Love you forever, like you for always.”