I've felt like a failure of a parent the last few weeks, maybe even months. The stress of caring for the two under two, then the desire to collapse at bedtime only being met with two little boys stampeding through the garage door in full anticipation and excitement over what's being served for dinner; mixed with my husband being gone every single weekend for a full 24-hours, leaving me alone to load and unload a double stroller and two, rather big, babies to attempt to make it through the church doors; then having one child who is dying for independence, but lacks so many skills and ability to connect—I blame myself. I lose my cool; I neglect and tire easily. I put on screens and cry in the bathroom. The fridge gets empty and I cry because....really? Not again I just can't get back to the store again. I'm so tired. And then I wrestle with the bitterness and sadness every single day as I see my friends with littles have constant companionship in their not-so-perfect-but-still-great moms. And my mind crawls down this dark rabbit-hole of darkness; because that is one thing I lack: a mom.
She can't come over and take the kids for an hour so I can just sit in quiet. She doesn't make meals or bake something, and cuddle my baby while I get a date with my husband. I'm alone in this; I'm figuring this whole mom thing out on my own.
Even today; on this Mother's Day, I'm sitting alone while my husband leads 4, then one extra, service at church, for thousand's of other moms. I try to clean and plan and work but, my heart is heavy; so, I sit.
And I scroll through the IG I said I would stay off of today: blessed daughters with great moms and blessed moms with kids; and I cringe. If I didn't have my kids, would I be considered less blessed? Am I less blessed and favored because my mom is an addict, who tormented me, who torments me still? Blessed is not the word I want to use today. Because my privilege of being able to carry two healthy babes and then adopt three more does not make me better. It is a grace to be treated and handled tenderly; that I take far too much advantage of each and everyday.
So, dear Daughters, dear Sons, I take today as a day of marching orders, a Command; not of flowers and notes and appreciation (but thank you for all of it, I treasure them forever). I do not take today lightly because I know there are many out there who would do anything to have what I have; and this is grace.
Here are my promises; my parenting manifesto:
When you push, I will pull. I will pull you in and hold you close. Whether you're stinky or sweaty with tantrum tears and tired eyes. I will pull you in and stroke my hands through your hair. When you're too old for that, I will never stop bugging you with texts checking in, and calls to see where you are at, who you are with, and why you are where you are. I promise to bug you even when you try to shoo me away.
I promise to learn. I will read and seek and pray. Because I want you to look up and see less of me on screens and more of me quietly reflecting in a journal or a book. I want you to know that, ya, I might not have all the answers you need and this mama still has a lot of questions for herself and parenting feels like a crazy tornado but I will seek out those who have gone before me and those sages who have wise thoughts and words to offer. From weaning to potty training to speaking with honoring lips, yes, even to you my child. I will learn for you; and I will be open to learning from you, too.
I want to listen; to champion and to laugh with you. I want to feel when your heart is aching and celebrate those triumphs with you.
And I will be there with you. There will come a day where I will no longer be the expert in everything for you. But I will never stop walking alongside you—cheering you on as you choose your path and directions. There will be forks in the road and I may see a little farther ahead than you, but Sons, but Daughters, I need to let you choose which path you will take, and be there for you all the same. I will be there with you. In the fields, in the flood, in the fire, in the wilderness and drought and rain. I will be with you. As you then enter the passage of parenthood, as you experience loss and defeat, and anticipation and joy—Oh Daughters, Oh Sons, I will not leave you as orphans, because Christ has not left us as orphans.
Lastly, but certainly not least(ly...)—I will love your Dad. I will love him fiercely. I will be honest to him about when he bugs me, but in ways that bear fruit. I will hold his hand and kiss him when you're around and in secret. I will love him tenderly, I will love him fiercely; and I will treat him as a soldier who deserves all my respect, because he is fighting for us every single day.
You are a Grace. You are mine to borrow. And I am grateful for the duty and the call.