It’s Mother’s Day weekend and this is a shout-out to all the awesome moms out there killing the whole diaper-changing, middle-of-the-night feedings, throw up, boo boos, sibling rivalry, breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks, car pool, school projects, doctor’s visits, homework, friends, college, parties and so many things that we have already forgotten.
Motherhood can be an overwhelming, never-ending, thankless job. There are days that we never want to repeat, days that seem to never end and then right in the middle there is a little golden nugget of joy that makes you forget why you were banging your head against the wall. It’s true that nothing in my 48 years has brought me more pain and joy than being a mom. I can’t think of anything else that we do as humans, except possibly working out, that we know is going to cause massive pain, but we do it anyway because we know it will be worth it.
Here’s the thing that so many of us don’t realize though until there is no turning back. We have this illusion that when these little parasites turn 18 and go to college or strike out on their own that we just cut the apron strings and…I don’t know what we thought was supposed to happen. I am just standing here holding an apron that is not very useful worrying incessantly about my new driver and my two girls that live a thousand miles away. I am imagining that all across the world there are moms (including ours) who are standing on their front porch, in doorways, and hanging out windows yelling, “I changed your diapers and raised you up to be the strong human that you are and all I have to show for it is this stupid apron with no strings!”
I’m serious, this mom business is not for the faint of heart and I would like to take this opportunity to thank our mom. She is a boss when it comes to this whole motherhood thing. She always made it look easy walking around being room mom with a cake in one hand and teacher appreciation gifts in the other. She not only was a great mom to us, she mothered all of our friends, neighbors, and any stray she could find. It is the fabric of who she is and she has always made it look easy. She is the strongest woman I know and life rarely seemed to throw her off course. She would just pick up whatever was thrown her way and keep going.
I have known this about her my whole life, but only recently have I begun to appreciate the mom she has been since I moved out of the house. If you are reading this and you don’t have any kids that have moved out yet, BEWARE and know that mothering adult children involves a very fine line. On one side is interference and on the other is mothering. This line is so extremely difficult to decipher that balancing yourself down the middle is almost impossible. I know because I am currently trying to find that line. Apparently, you need glasses (which we all know is hard for me), you need to be a mind reader, you need to have thick skin, you need to be on call at all hours, but pretend you aren’t and also act like it’s no big deal if they don’t need you.
Now, I live far away so, logistically speaking, it’s always been difficult for my mom to be too involved in our lives. I do remember that we spoke on the phone A LOT when I first moved and I do remember her giving advice. Now I was already married so I don’t know what that does to the line that I mentioned before, but I can only imagine that it makes it nearly impossible to see, let alone navigate. What I do remember is that she seemed to let me do it my way. What I don’t know is if she slept at night, felt like vomiting most of the time, or was living in a state of stress wondering if I would survive, let alone thrive, as an adult.
What I do hope is that at this point in our mom’s life she only worries about us passively and that it doesn’t consume her thoughts. I hope that she sleeps soundly at night and wakes to the birds chirping rather than a panic attack about some god forsaken thing we might be doing that day. I need to know there is a light somewhere down this tunnel of motherhood. If not, I may need to start drinking more.
Sunshine & Sarcasm,
Lowi & G