Not often will you hear me begin a sentence with, “I am a good…”
But I am a good mom.
I love my children fiercely, protectively, eternally. I am quick with homemade chicken soup and a garlic pack to stop a cold in its tracks. I don’t blindly do what the experts say without investigating it first. They are too important to me not to put in the effort it takes to mother smart. I am crazy about my kids.
I became a wife at 16 and the mother of a headstrong boy when I was barely 17, still a child myself younger than our daughter is now. I had little idea what I was doing, but I clung to God and my husband and our family and learned as I went. I still apologize to our first son for bungling things in those early years. He just shakes his head when I do, him grinning and nearing 32.
I caught myself yelling at our oldest when he was around five or six and was suddenly hit with the realization that I didn’t like yelling, didn’t like the sound of my voice in anger, didn’t like the look on his face. I decided not to yell any more. I liked mothering more after that.
That was around the time a close friend came over and sat us down on our wildly flowered blue couch and taught us how to balance love and discipline to raise good kids. We are still thanking him for taking the time and risking our friendship to share such instruction with two barely-more-than-kids who were clueless in the parenting department. Our family was impacted in ways that can’t be quantified.
I mothered a baby for 11 weeks and released him to Heaven no bigger than a peanut. We named him Jamie.
I’ve mothered through Little League and dance classes, broken arms and broken hearts, Sunday School and youth group and summer trips, food fights and football and Family Council.
I’ve homeschooled our children over a span of 25 years, and I’ve learned a lot.
I’ve rolled pennies to buy baby shoes and rocked toddlers well into the night. I’ve comforted hormonal sons and wiped away the tears of a daughter who was convinced true love would never come. I’ve carried chubby-cheeked babies on my hip until my back x-rayed like and “S” and my doctor scolded. I found a thousand creative ways to sneak vegetables into a boy’s food so he’d grow up healthy.
I baked a multi-level Sweet 16 cake that sunk into a gooey mass we named Cake Mountain and she laughed and I cried and he tried to tie it together. We left it wrecked and she left to get dressed and I baked a whole new cake, one layer simple and beautiful. I’ve baked more cookie cakes and hosted more creatively planned birthday parties than I can remember.
I’ve yelled at umpires, fussed at referees, and conferred with teachers. I’ve smoothed over issues with Scripture and rubbed knots out of tired backs and taught children (and learned from them) how to forgive.
I mothered a beautiful baby girl we named Heather Rose. We buried her in a tiny white coffin I watched sink eerily into the earth in the Limona Cemetery on a gray day in April. Every year on her birthday till she would have turned 16 we sent balloons heavenward bearing the promise of Revelation 21:4 knowing our tears were not forever.
I’ve gladly welcomed our children’s friends into our home and mothered them, too. I was born for this.
I’ve laid awake until I heard cars return home, worried over delays, and insisted on calls or texts telling me where they are. Because a mother should always know.
I mothered through losing my own, my babies all holding my hands and hemming me in as we laid her to rest.
I’ve always tried to be a safe spot to land, a listening ear without being too annoyingly curious (I fail at this sometimes). I’ve always wanted them to know that no matter what, they can always come home.
I like the way my mother-love has been so individualized yet so universal, giving and adapting to the needs of each and nudging them to live out every detail of who they were created to be. I never asked them to be anyone else, never wanted them to be, because they each have such unique and beautiful purpose.
I have mothered far from alone, my beloved close by my side always whispering his love for me and for our children, holding me up and ever celebrating who I am. Mothering his children is one of the greatest blessings of my life.
As they grow, I hold on loosely and don’t let go. They are almost all grown up now; in a few short months I will be mothering five adults. I marvel at the flight of time and reminisce over the years gone by. Our family is bonded together like none I’ve known; it is a blessing I never take for granted.
I look back from the edge of an empty nest knowing I’ve made plenty of mistakes, but with a solid network of support I have mothered well. I pray for many more years of pouring my love into my family.
Over everything, I am grateful. I am a good mom, but only by God’s amazing grace.