(This is a re-run from a few months ago, but it felt right to put it out there again in honor of all of us who are lovingly called “mom”. And a special shout out to my wonderful mama. I love you with all my heart. Happy Mother’s Day, to all!!!!)
Calling all mama’s…
After conversations with multiple women this week whose hearts are heavy with grief or worry, my aching soul wants to bring you all in close for a group hug and the affirmation that
YOU ARE NOT ALONE
There is no information given in 7th grade health classes, when motherhood was still just a childhood fantasy, that could have prepared us for the guts and glory of this sacred calling.
When we were finally pregnant and the beauty of conception brought with it both green mornings and sleepless nights, we had no way of knowing that our worries would not stop once we gave birth.
We pushed with everything in us to bring our babies into the light of day (or allowed a scalpel to cut away at us to ensure a safe delivery). And with that first infant cry, our ears took in a sound that can be matched by no other –
All that work and sickness and fatigue was worth it. And we thought that our worries were over.
WE WERE WRONG
Our fears turned to other things like wondering if we were ever going to sleep again or how long colic takes to run its course. Were they meeting their milestones and was it normal that they spit up after every feeding?
In between the worrisome thoughts in our heads, we did our best to savor the moments when they were asleep in our arms and all we could smell was the sweet scent of their skin.
Until the next blood curdling cry that sent our worried hearts reeling again.
BUT THIS WAS JUST BASIC TRAINING
Colic gave way to toddlerhood and tantrums and incessant “no’s”. And our mommy hearts began to think, “What am I doing wrong? What happened to my precious baby?”
Oh, but their budding vocabulary and distinct personalities were emerging and we couldn’t help but smile when their sticky little hands reached up to give us a hug and sloppy wet kiss. We danced and sang when a single little poop was proudly displayed in their potty chairs.
And then those chubby little legs ran them straight into that table’s edge and our worried hearts rushed them to the ER for their first set of stitches.
BUT ALL OF THAT WAS A PIECE OF CAKE
Suddenly we were sending them off to preschool and tearfully dropping them off for the first time with complete strangers and other kids who might not be nice to them. Our newly discovered free time was spent worrying if they would be okay. Would they make friends? Would they learn well? Had we made a good choice to pick this place?
But they met us with smiles and finger painted masterpieces and our fears diminished and a little sadness set in. They had survived and and even thrived without us. A strange new thought that both thrilled and scared us a bit. The painting of that little, newly independent hand went up on our fridges. A sort of trophy for both mother and child.
And we went into the bathroom and cried for just a bit, knowing this step was just the beginning of the fear of letting go.
AND THEN THERE WAS KINDERGARTEN
We stood at the bus stop and watched them climb the steps of that big yellow vehicle that would somehow become a time warp where years flew like moments. The next time you looked up they were awkward middle schoolers (which brought more fears than we ever could have imagined) and then, mystically, became high schoolers over night.
Oh, but the beauty of transformation! Children to young adults. Deeper conversations and more meaningful interactions. They were finding their voices and spreading their wings.
And arguing and having their own opinions and getting licenses and going on dates and leaving our mommy hearts in yet another state of angst. How did our babies become big people without our consent? Would they make the right choices? Had we done enough? Had we done too much?
THIS MUST BE WHEN THE WORRYING STOPS
They graduated and did or didn’t go to college. They found themselves or didn’t. Faith came easy or repelled them. They were motivated or not. They were adults and we were having to find that fine imaginary line that no one told us about. We had to figure out when to say something and when to keep our thoughts to ourselves. When to intervene and when to let them fall or fail. And our mommy hearts thought they might break from the anxiety that consumed us.
But we saw potential and learning and maturity sprouting with every good move and mistake they made. We began to give ourselves credit each time we didn’t take their “stuff” and make it our own. Growth was happening in both us and them and it felt pretty darn good. We transitioned into that luscious place of friendship with these new adults who surprised us with their wisdom.
And then they moved back home and we worried that in this economy they might be stuck there for a while (which, if we’re honest, we didn’t hate because our little bird was, for a moment, back in the nest.)
AND THEN SOMEHOW THE TORCH IS PASSED
They begin having their own babies and we pass down the heritage of motherhood worry, sure that our time of fret is done. That we have done our time.
We hold that precious grandchild for the first time and we can’t remember the worries you felt as a new mom, only the newfound joy of this new chapter and role. We take in every precious second of love without the weighty responsibility that our child now carries. We are there to support and cuddle and spoil.
And then we get the call that precious baby has her first cold. And we realize
MAMA WORRY NEVER REALLY ENDS
Jesus has graced us with the most honorable of positions. Mother. He knows our capacity for unconditional love and tireless hope. He found us worthy to extend His love to each of our specific children.
HE CHOSE US
And each and every day He will meet our mama hearts to comfort, encourage and lift us.
Keep going, precious mama. Your prayers are heard. Your heart is understood. And your children are loved far more than even YOU can imagine.
He holds you and your precious babies in His fiercely loving and protective hands.