I have been a mom for over half of my life. Half of my life? Do I get some sort of a prize? Actually, I have several prizes I have won:
Sleepless nights (which may end for a while until they are teens, then you begin again!), taking care of sick babies and kids, bandaging boo-boos and pulling yourself together to do all of those things because you are their person. You are their rock their foundation, it is YOU.
Patience for babies to sleep, patience for picking up kids at school. For those of you wondering, the lines and moms not following pick-up lines are worse in high school! Patience juggling activities, patience to say, “No, and I don’t care about the other kids’ parents, this is how we do things here.” Patience to stay the course and parent like a boss.
Making food an hour before your child said he would bring it for school. Coming up with the outfit for DARE week the morning of the event. Saying no to fundraisers and yes to donating $20. When it really matters, supporting your child to do great things, even if fundraisers are warranted.
Saying no to those things that your child asks for a million times, all in different ways and you manage to stay the course. Recognizing that sometimes, you need to say yes. Yes to being the navigator and have the strength to follow through. Stamina, the ability to power through wrestling matches, soccer games and music programs. Realizing at the end of the day, your kid is oh so good!
At your worst parenting moments, you find compassion, you backtrack and make compassion happen. At the end of the day, your child gets their compassion from you. There may be elements of sass, but compassion is there. In all of its glory, it is there.
Through it all, I have learned that I concentrate on LOVE. Not the fact that my child has systematically destroyed my house, eaten more candy than they should in 10 years, cussed like a sailor (gee, how did they learn those words?), and managed to be sent to the principal’s office. Life is all about love when it boils down to it. As a mom, you love them through it. The times when you had your kids hug it out. Love. The times when you made them apologize to whoever was in the path of the day’s destruction. Love. That time when everyone was so mad, and then there was a sudden memory loss as to why the anger in the first place is love. Simple love, and what a prize it is to have a loving imperfectly glorious family.
The clock is ticking, my baby girl graduated in May. The last one has made all the marks and gotten her job well-done diploma. While I have cried many tears as we face the next “last” parent/child thing, I know my job is still to be the mom. The one who continues to show what resilience looks like. The one who is patient and kind. I will still put on the super cape and help in what area I need to help with. Stamina, well it is not like it used to be but I will be there when needed. My compassion still runs over every time I see my kids. Every time I think of the past, the present and the future. My compassion is in my smile, in my tears, and in my laughter. Best of all, I love that I am your mom. My nest may be “empty” but my heart is full. The nest is always open for visits. I am excited to see you fly and create your own story.
As Robert Munsch wrote, “I’ll love you forever, I’ll like you for always, as long as I’m living my baby you’ll be.”
Remember this always, the time you have with your babies is short, embrace every stage that your child goes through. Being a parent is by far the toughest job you will ever have. It is also the most rewarding role you can play. Having an “empty nest” will be different, but I am looking forward to this new chapter. I will always be a mom and will continue to be just that. Stages and places are irrelevant. What is important is the relationship you have and making sure yours is a strong one no matter how far your birds may fly away.
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I Will Love Them Forever, My Babies They Will Always Be