This morning, school drop-off started off like any other (it was, after all, my second school drop-off of the morning and my last, so I knew I was in the home stretch). And that’s when I saw it.
In the middle of a stand-still car line, waiting for the school’s doors to open, two mothers saw each other from across the way. They both jumped out of their parked cars and literally ran to each other. I looked around to see if anyone else was witnessing this, not even sure what I was witnessing, but most people were looking down at their phones. These two mothers embraced each other with the biggest, most graceful hug, and that’s when I saw one of the mother’s eyes holding back tears. She was clearly very upset by something; I could only imagine.
I myself wanted to give this poor mother a hug. That’s when the other friend, ran back to her car and handed the tearful mom an iced coffee. She smiled big and whispered something into her friend’s ear, hugged once more, and they each got back into their cars as the line started moving.
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This act may seem like something simple to most—a hug and coffee for a friend in need, but as a mother, I totally get this. I get what it’s like to feel so overwhelmed and exhausted, and yet it’s expected as mothers that we put on a happy face at all times, after all, we did choose to be a mother.
And that’s where mom friends play a huge factor. A friend who shows up is everything, especially when motherhood can feel so isolating at times, especially in this day and age.
God made a mother to be there for not only her children but for other mothers. To lift them up. To demonstrate grace and compassion.
We have all been there. There is something so true to be said when you don’t have to say much for someone to understand exactly what you’re going through. Someone who is also knee-deep in the trenches right with you. Someone you don’t have to start out a sentence by saying “I love my kids, but . . .”
A mother already knows. She knows you would die for your kids, but you’re also dying for a break. She knows you are a great mom, but also in great need of some self-care. She knows you love savoring every last cuddle, but that you would love just one day when no one touches you.
It’s one thing to communicate with your husband or family members how you feel, but sometimes we don’t feel like explaining it. The truth of the matter is my husband will never fully understand what it’s like to grow, carry, and birth another human being and everything that changes from that moment forward.
But a mother knows.
She knows when you need a big hug and an even bigger iced coffee in a car line parking lot at 8:44 a.m. And that’s the beautiful thing about mothers. We just know. I call this mom-tuition.
The ironic part about all of this is that a lot of my dearest, closest friends, I’ve only just now met post-kids. I never knew them pre-kids. I literally have them saved in my phone as “Liam’s Mom.” Would we have been friends’ pre-kids? Or did we find each other at this odd time in between these chaotic and mundane moments? Whatever it may be, it’s for the best.
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I know I’m not the same person I was pre-kids, and yes, I miss that person sometimes. We all miss the flexibility and spontaneity, not having to arrange every little thing, being carefree, shopping alone, and of course, our pre-baby bodies. We’ve all had some post-baby identity crises at some point. But I also have to say I was pretty dang selfish.
Anyone who is waiting for things to go back to how they were before having kids will be shaken by this statement: It will never be the same. You will never stop thinking of your kids, you will never stop praying for them, you will never stop worrying about them, you will never stop loving them, heck you will never stop telling yourself you’re going to go to bed early, but still take those precious extra hours at night to yourself.
But what I do know is that I like me better now. My kids have taught me to give grace to not only myself and them, but others as well.
They have taught me what true unconditional love and compassion are. And those things—giving grace and love through the highs and lows of parenthood, marriage, friendship—that’s what it’s all about and that’s what Jesus has told us over and over again.
This morning, at 8:44 a.m. when no one was watching, I got to witness that and how amazing mothers truly are.