I imagine beauty and t-ball and laughs and real live dolls like the ones I used to hold and dress up when I was little, except they aren’t plastic and can’t be handled any old way.
But none of them are as expected.
They are better and harder and more and here and what will I do with them now, I think to myself, as I hold them and fall in love.
They can’t tell me and I know it is so: that I will have to try to figure this mothering thing out with buckets of God’s help and something inside I am counting on being there that people call intuition.
I am scared. But I am in love, and that is stronger.
I struggle…through sleepless nights and cries I can’t figure out and mistakes I make before I realize it and that accusatory part of my brain that tells me stuff I do wrong by the second.
And I pray. A lot. Especially during rocking moments in the middle of the night when I smell their heads and can’t keep my eyes open because it’s a time I used to be sleeping. I tell God I’m not sure I’m good at this but thank you for letting me have a shot at it, anyway. (He already knows: a mother is what I’ve always wanted to be.)
And they grow. They get smarter and cuter and more human every day and I marvel at the inches and the steps and the words and that despite how I have no clue what I am doing, they are becoming more of the people they were meant to be.
They start needing me less, and I notice. They brush their own teeth and climb in and out of cars and before I know it, one of them is driving and I have somehow become his passenger.
It’s life, I know, and it’s good for them to grow, but it’s hard, too, because even though people say words like don’t blink, no one tells you exactly how to hold a newborn with a red, pinched face one minute and the next, open your arms and let that newborn go. I don’t know how to do that, even though it is exactly what I am doing on a daily basis.
And so, today, I admit something to my children that I am sure they already know.
I don’t know how to be your mom, my babies, 1, 2 and 3. I don’t know how to tell you wise things I’m not sure I have even learned, put my self aside to help you be better, hold on and let go, all at the same time.
I don’t know how to tell you about God in a way that does Him justice. I don’t know how to explain love in a way that tells of its complication or sounds as good as it can be.
I don’t know how to lose my flaws fast enough for you to not notice what they are or share with you in words how desperately I want you to have a good life and become so much better than me.
I don’t know how to let you love someone else or explain what it feels like when I cook you a meal and you eat and we are both full and for a split second I feel like I’ve done something well.
I don’t know how to tell you how much becoming your mom changed my life and no matter how many moments my mood is bad or days my pace is hurried, I could never hold you enough, smell you enough, have enough days with you in my arms.
And so, even though I have never, not since day one, known how to be your mom, I know this: I will never, ever get over the joy of getting to try.
(Here’s to all the mothers who don’t know how to be moms and the babies in our arms who give us the chance to try. If you relate to this post, breathe, say a thankful prayer, and pass it on to other moms who don’t know, either, but find the joy in trying. Happy Mother’s Day, friends!)