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Someday. A letter to my children.

There has been a lot of praise this week for the Mothers. I love and cherish each and every “you’re the best mom in the world,” but I can’t help but wonder what my kids will remember of me long from now. It flatters and humbles and melts me in a puddle to hear them say they would pick me again out of all the moms, but I hope they know that I am equally aware of the holes I have left them.

Someday, my sweet babies, when I’m no longer here to look over your shoulder or come running from another room, I hope you remember that I absolutely loved being your mom. I hope you believe me when I say that you were my world. I hope you remember all the silly times and happy times and treasured memories we made, and that they bring a smile to your face every time you think on them. I hope you remember the sad and the hard times too, but I hope what you remember about those times is that we made it through. We didn’t always have the answers, and maybe we didn’t always choose the best choice, but we stuck together and we looked to Jesus, and we kept on pushing forward until things got a little easier. I hope you remember that in the sad times you still brought me much happiness.

I hope that you know how keenly aware I was of my mistakes. I hope you’ll forgive me for them; for being too protective, too selfish, too impatient, too narrow-minded, too angry… I hope you believe that I was doing the best that I could at the time. At least, that’s what I thought I was doing.

I pray that you not only forgive my mistakes, but that you learn from them and carry into your own families a deeper knowledge and a better way than I had. I hope you’ll carry some of me too; like getting up early to make a big Sunday breakfast and singing at the top of your lungs like you just don’t care.

Please forgive me for the empty spots I left and the hurts I caused. I know they are there. Forgive me for not being brave enough and humble enough and wise enough to always see them. I so desperately hope that there will be strong and meaningful people in each of your lives who can speak truth and strength to where I gave you weaknesses, and you will discover yourselves more whole.

Each one of you were the most precious, unimaginable gifts to me. I could never have dreamed of being given such blessings as you. You rocked my world and colored it and made it full of laughter and music and fun, and I could never have lived such a magnificent life without you.

Thank you for teaching me to look outside of myself; to relax, to trust, to slow down and enjoy, to take risks, to fight, to have courage and hope and ambition. I hope that the string that I gave you is enough to hold onto and run into the world; exploring and learning and conquering and becoming everything you dream you can possibly be.

I hope you will feel glad that I was your mom. I hope you can keep the good parts of me and ditch the bad, and keep making an infinite number more of the best of yourself.

You are my children; you made me a mama. Showed me how strong and how flexible and how silly and how important I could be, and it was incredible.

I love you each; from the bottom of the ocean, to the top of the sky.

Love,

Mom

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For the Mamas. And everyone who ever came from one.

No thing in life has ever made my heart beat so proud, so fierce, so gentle, so unequivocally bursting with the highest and lowest of all emotions as being a mother does.

It has made me so many things. I have been the young teenage mother, naive and unsuspecting. The energetic working mom, balancing a career while serving growing little hearts at home.

I have been the expecting mother, dancing over a positive pregnancy test, and the would-be mother staring in disbelief at an ultrasound screen that has gone silent. I have been the adoptive mother, gathering the seeming endless trail of papers required to welcome a lonely heart Home, and I have been the foster mom who had to say goodbye with a desperate prayer for a loving mother to come.

I have been the woman struggling with infertility and avoiding going out in public for the pain of seeing maternity clothes and new babies. I have been the mother of a perfect natural delivery and of an unplanned and frightening c-section.

I’ve been the mother pleading for a miracle over a quiet hospital bed, and the mother staring down a deep gash in the earth where my child would be buried.

I’ve been the homeschooling mom, and the mom that packs lunches before the early morning school bus. The mom who cheers and waves and beams with pride, and the mom who aches over the heart of a wayward child. I have been the mama supported by a loving husband, and the single mom trying to hold it all together through long deployments.

I have been the mother who delights in adventuring and the thrill of trying new things, and the mother who grieves over being too ill to make it out of bed.

I have been enough to know that there is no “right way” to mother, and that we are all just doing the best we know how, and that the one thread that runs common among all mothers and would-be, have-been, and almost-mothers is the unbreakable thread that formed when we realized we could or would or had to belong to something smaller but greater than ourselves. Something that held the power to provide us with our greatest, most intense moments of joy and fulfillment, and also the lowest depths of grief and insecurity.

If you are a mother, have a mother, know a mother, want to be a mother? That’s something. That is one ridiculously terrifying and exuberantly thrilling job description that no one really lets you in on until you’re in the thick of it. And this world needs you and your desperate love and reckless hope and selfless ambition to keep the heartbeats of all of us thrumming to find our places and our purpose in this crazy life.

I leave you with this…

We all have come across people in life that tend to make us feel better about ourselves and how we are doing. It’s human, it’s our nature to compare. So imma give you a free “feel pretty super good about yourself” right now, or at least next time you’re wondering if you’re the only mom who does these things you will know you’re not alone.

I have been at this mothering thing for 15 years and 11 months. I have most definitely done one and all of the following, some of them on more than one occasion:

1. I have *actually* pulled over and made a kid get out and walk the rest of the way home.

2. I have let (begged?) my children to stay home from school because I was too exhausted to drop them off and pick them up.

3. I have mistaken one of their adorable drawings of a person or a flower for something completely unrelated and crushed their little spirits.

4. I have let my children have cereal for dinner and dessert for breakfast.

5. I have pretended to make a call and given them the “oh sorry honey, they didn’t answer,” when I couldn’t fathom adding one more friend or activity to our day.

6. I’ve been distracted when I was supposed to be watching their super-coolest thing and missed it and told them how amazing and incredible they were anyway.

7. I have gone to bed before my children and told them to remember to tuck in the little one and then turn out the lights.

8. I have forgotten it was picture day at school and been reminded by a portrait of haphazard hair and a tacky two-years-outgrown T-shirt with an obnoxious graphic on the front.

9. I have spent endless time on meal plans and grocery shopping and stocking up on all the good stuff and then been so bone-weary I have ordered delivery or let them eat whatever they felt like anyway.

10. I’ve forgotten to replace pearly baby teeth with shiny quarters and blamed it on them for putting it too far under their pillows.

11. I’ve been late getting them places because I can’t decide on what to wear, and then let everyone assume we were late because of the kids.

12. I have secretly wished that for Mother’s Day I could have a small break from being a mom.

There you have it. Wherever you are in your motherhood, hopefully that gives you a reason or two to feel better about your tireless efforts to safely and effectively grow your little people into productive, well-adjusted adults with very little scar tissue. Just remember, there is no one-size-fits-all-mothering, so keep doing the best you can with what you know. Warrior on mamas!

My kids; here and in Heaven, biological and not, have made me so much of who I am, and I am all the better for it. They challenge me, inspire me, forgive me, empower me, love and accept me in ways I never could have imagined, and I truly am the luckiest girl in the whole wide world for getting to be their mom.