I will never forget the moment I held my daughter in my arms for the first time. A love was birthed on the inside of me like I had never known.
I was completely overtaken with LOVE. It was tender, and it was fierce.
When the nurse nestled that tight little bundle in my arms, I kissed my baby’s chubby little cheek and with tears whispered on her skin, “I love you. Momma loves you.”
In that moment I knew I would die for this child without a microsecond of pause.
Being gentle by nature, I was a little jolted by the power boiling up in my belly. A mother’s love is a force to be reckoned with. Even now, words escape me in describing the lengths I would go to protect my children. But I can tell you this, I would freakin’ take you out if you threatened to harm them. Just the thought of it has triggered my heart rate and adrenaline. I can feel it. If you are a parent, I know you understand that instinctive primal drive to protect your children’s lives even if it costs you your own. There is no question.
But how we actually live for them is a question I ask myself daily.
The entire first day in the hospital, I kept examining her little fingers and toes, touching her face and hair, smelling her sweet skin. And I thought over and over again, “she’s perfect.” Not in the sense that she hadn’t made any mistakes in her young life yet—but that I hadn’t.
Over nine years later, I have. I have screwed up.
I have yelled when I should have hugged.
I have controlled when I should have released.
I have hurt when I should have healed.
But, I have also been a very good momma. I love my children deeply. And, they know it implicitly. I tell them in scores of silly and meaningful ways. I show them with hugs and kisses, with ears and arms, with time and money. I trust them. I give them grace to make mistakes. And they trust me by extending that same grace back to momma.
Like no one else in the world, my children see me at my very best! And Heaven help me, they see me at my very worst. Yet no one loves me like they do.
I gave up being a “perfect parent” years ago. But I’ve never given up on giving them my best.
Some days I freakin’ shine! Like I’m pretty sure there’s a cape back there. And other days are a total parenting failure of epic proportions. And I retreat to my closet to cry big, hot failure-tears. In order to keep things in perspective, I remind myself:
Perfection is for how I make my bed—not how I raise my children. |Click to Tweet|
Their days as children will be lived in love and grace, in laughter and tears, in successes and failures. They are going to have melt-downs and hormones. And sadly, so am I.
We will have our days of scraped knees and slammed doors.
Of “That’s not fair!” and “Go to your rooms!”
Of painful words we can’t take back and moments of utter regret.
But we will have far more days of cuddles under the covers and singing in the kitchen.
Of “You’re the best mom in the whole world!” and “I love you to the moon and back a 1,000 times!”
Of poignant memories we wouldn’t take back and moments of utter bliss.
It’s rare that one must die for their children, but it’s daily that we must live for them. And at my house, this is how love is lived—in giving one another our very best each day, and in offering one another simple grace when we get it all wrong.
After all, childhood is not measured in a single day, but in days. Let your good days far outweigh your bad. |Click to Tweet|