Happy Mother's Day

I'm feeling rather soft and squishy about my children tonight. Somedays I feel I am the one learning and they are the teachers. Not necessarily the older wiser teachers, but the harder, tough teachers that you never forget the lessons you learn from. Ever had any of those? I've got three of them here under my own roof. The woman I used to be was independent, a world traveler, a career chick who had a really fun job, cool and interesting friends, a convertible, nice clothes and a good dye job on the hair. I relished my freedom and independence, I sat in bed on Sunday mornings reading the paper and writing self-indulgent things in my journal while my dog slept at my feet. I had friends over for fancy meals and to try out new, gourmet recipes. I spent my free time with other bohemians who were equally self-indulgent and submerged in relative luxury. Luxury of time, of money, of place and weather. Luxury of friends and career's and choices and plenty. Luxury of museums and concerts and sunset cruises on the Bay after tiny bistro dinners in the City... Ah, I can still feel it, and on melancholy days, I might even miss it a tiny bit. The woman I am now... Ah, the woman I am now is so much happier than the woman I was. The previous life sounds glamorous and full and fun- and at times it was. But it was also a whole lot of hollow- years of looking for what I felt was missing. Years of writing in that journal, wishing for a family of my own, wishing for my eternal companion (even though he was right under my nose), wishing for children, wishing for a home, wishing for everything that now occupies my days and often my nights. From my children and my choosing to be a stay-at-home mom, I have learned more than I ever imagined possible. From the moment Jeffrey was born, he has been teaching me- starting with his body sliding into the world... Came the stunning realization that there really is a God. Nothing in my life has been as impacting and as sure as that moment. From Eric's birth I learned that my heart could expand indefinitely, that love was not something metered out or finite. From Abby's birth, I learned my capacity to cope and deal with pain reached far beyond what I thought were my boundaries, and I came out not only alive, but thrillingly so. Each day, as I watch my children grow and change, visibly metamorphosing, the same thing is happening inside of me. My life is not about me anymore, but the irony is that I am more alive, more myself than I ever was when it was all about me. Motherhood has given me confidence in the face of opposition, a knowledge of my personal resources and how deep they might actually be, lessons in patience repeated over and again, a solid sense of what is really important, the ability to discern and trust my intuition, and faith. Oh, most of all, Faith. How could any of us mother without faith? How could we get through the long nights and exhausting days without faith? How could we do what we do, over and over, without faith?The Lord gave me the greatest gift when Jeffrey was born. I had been searching for years for answers, but it was not until the very moment his warm, wet body was laid on my stomach that I knew, knew with all my heart, that God was there, that God is real. As mothers, we walk around in the world watching our hearts live outside ourselves. Tiny bodies holding our very lifeblood toddle off into the great blue beyond, and the vulnerability would be unendurable without Faith. So today, I thank the Lord for answering my questions in unmistakable ways, and for giving me the gift of these little teachers, who stretch and grow and push me toward my eternal destination. I pray that I am enough of a mother to do the same for them. Happy Mothers Day to all of you. Go kiss your mother!


Anonymous Susan M said...

I love your posts, Tracy. You're such a great writer. Thanks for this one.

And this bit:

"My life is not about me anymore, but the irony is that I am more alive, more myself than I ever was when it was all about me."

is what Matt 10:39 is all about.

5/14/2006 02:15:00 PM  
Blogger The Wiz said...

I just got home from excellent church meetings, forming a post in my head, and came home to read this, which is essentially my sentiments exactly. Hee hee

But to it I would add this thought - there are many days when I feel unfulfilled, incomplete, and a disaster. Today is not one of them. Today I am content. And it is enough.

5/14/2006 02:24:00 PM  
Blogger Tracy M said...

Susan, I knew there was a scripture in that idea, but I jsut wasn't sure which one... thanks!

Wiz, Oh, there are many days I am a walking, mumbling disaster... only, like you, today is not one of them.

5/14/2006 08:27:00 PM  
Anonymous Sue said...

I read on another blog the phrase, motherhood by desperation - and that is how I feel most days - struggling to get through each day, trying to be as loving as I can, trying not to lose it after the literally 60th time someone says "Mommy," that morning...

Being a mom is the hardest thing I've evern done. I love my kids fiercely, but I also worry that I'll never really learn how to do this right. I yell too much and get through a lot of my days by daydreaming, instead of being in the present with my children. It's hard to have a 4 year old, a 3 year old and an almost 2 year old. Someone is always into one form of trouble or another. Some people may handle all that and more with grace, but I'm not one of them, and most days I end up feeling like a failure.

My four year old told me on Saturday with amazement that McKenna's mom never yells. We made a deal that I would try not to yell so much, and she would try to listen better. Hugs were exchanged, and then I sat in my room and cried for a while, feeling like a total failure as a mom. Is my daughter going to remember all of the nice things we do together, all of the stories and activities and playing we do together, or just the times I yell?

Mother's Day left me melancholy this year. I realize I should probably end this comment with a sweet moment or something positive, but I'm not feeling it right now. Listening to everyone in RS talk about how angelic their mother's were and about satisfaction and fulfillment, and I just wonder how messed up my kids are going to be.

5/15/2006 10:09:00 AM  
Blogger annegb said...

Sue, I'm clinging to Rusty's post as well. I'm the supreme example of motherhood by desperation and how it doesn't work very well.

I skipped church yesterday, Mother's Day is a hard day for me. We took my mom out for a ride instead.

Tracy, your post is lovely. I wish I'd been as wise when I was young. You are very lucky that you realize how lucky you are.

5/15/2006 10:55:00 AM  
Blogger Tracy M said...

Please don't feel alone and isolated- we have ALL been in that boat. Some days all I do is yell, and I feel like a failure and worry what I am doing to my kids... I have three kids under 5, too, and it is HARD, no two ways about it.

I have all the same worries you mentioned- it's just when I wrote this post, I was trying to aim for something higher, and like I said, I was feeling warm and squishy at the moment. They were all asleep when I wrote it, so that probably factored in!

I think it's perfectly normal as a woman and a mother to be self-critical of how you are doing; but I do know that kids are unbeleivably forgiving and really remember a lot of the good stuff.

Oh, and frankly, I hate the stories of the Perfect, Angelic mother- I've never met her, and I think she is an Urban Legend. Either that, or the product of children remembering the good and forgetting the yelling...!

Thanks Ann, for the compliment. I always love your comments, no matter where I read them.

5/15/2006 11:15:00 AM  
Anonymous Mary said...

That really was a beautiful post Tracy. I hear you on feeling "squishy" towards my child at times. Usually that is at night when my husband and I are laughing at the funny things our daughter said/did that day. I feel lucky to be a mom.

But like some of the other posters said, there are definitely times when I feel like I'm going crazy and I have no patience and that I'm failing - and I only have one 18-month-old daughter! She has learned to shriek recently, and it is really wearing on me. I'm due with #2 (a boy) in about 6 weeks and there are days that I'm totally excited for another baby and days that I am totally freaked out at the thought of having to be the main caregiver of two kids, eek!

Anyway, beautiful post. I know we all love being moms and all struggle with it too, it's just the nature of the job I guess. Oh, and any ideas on curtailing the toddler's shrieking would be appreciated :)

5/15/2006 12:28:00 PM  

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