Motherhood…it’s not what it looked like in the brochure. There’s something sweet about having a baby in your arms that makes you think that you’ve got this parenting thing covered. There are those sweet moments when big blue eyes look up at you and ask, “Can I hold your hand?” and declarations of wanting to be doctors and innocently declaring that they would never dream of drinking alcohol. There are Easter Egg hunts and family dinners, and nights when you sit by their beds and listen to them thank God for their mom during prayer time. There are so many intoxicating moments. Moments when I would have sworn I had it all under control. Moments when my inexperienced ignorance could have had me courting a publisher to write a parenting book entitled, “It’s Exhausting, But Really Not That Hard People.”
I’m not exactly sure when it turned, but I know there was a point when I looked around my house filled with 15 teenage girls all laughing and simultaneously crying when I knew that I may have started to slip out of the “perfect mom” role and more into the RA at the sorority house. Don’t get me wrong, I loved and truly felt blessed that my girls trusted me enough to be transparent and open with me and I enjoyed helping all the girls that came to my house navigate the complications of “teenage boys,” but quickly I was canceling the perfect parent book deal. At some point, I found myself awake at 2:00am saying out loud… “I have no idea what I’m doing.”
As I fumble through the ever-evolving transition of my girls moving from children to adults, I know that while emotionally excruciating…I’m blessed. I am the rock that they turn to when life crumbles around them. I am the voice in their head that can insist that they get their act together and the soft place for them to land when everything goes wrong. I am the whisper in their heads that ask them to stay in school regardless of how long it takes, and the insistence that begs with them to not allow themselves to tolerate the abuse that I accepted. I am the voice they hear, and it’s exhausting.
Maybe my book idea wasn’t that bad. Maybe it really isn’t that hard, maybe it’s just exhausting. Maybe, just maybe I’m simply blessed that my girls trust my opinion. My girls still cherish the bond that this make shift sorority RA created. I never know exactly what being a mom will look like from day to day, as it ebbs and flows according to the daily life of my girls. I know that regardless of how emotional they are or how incompetent I feel, that both my girls are not only asking me for advice, but praying to a heavenly Father that truly is the rock. I know that I don’t have to have the answers, or even good advice, I just listen…and listen…and listen. I know I just need to remind them that I will always be there and that where my inadequacies and the world leave them empty, our God is there to fill them up. So today, I remind them that they are strong, I remind them that I am their biggest cheerleader, and I remind them that God is always there to fill in the gaps. Today, I remind them that they are loved.