I used to wonder why my mom loved high-waisted jeans.
I used to wonder why she took so much time getting ready to go on a date with my dad.
I used to wonder why she would caution us and get so frustrated each morning when our elbows jabbed into her ribs, spilling her hot coffee all over her lap.
I used to wonder why she wanted or sometimes needed our ideas on what to make for dinner.
I used to wonder why she would go on and on about how cute we were as babies, telling the same string of toddler anecdotes over and over.
I used to wonder why she forced us to stand and smile for family pictures.
I used to wonder why swimsuit shopping was so displeasing.
I used to wonder why my parents wanted so many hugs.
I used to wonder why she would get teary-eyed over birthdays and events.
I used to wonder why she would stress clean and demand we tidy our rooms before company arrived.
I used to wonder why a made bed, empty hamper, or scrubbed out sink filled her with acute satisfaction.
I used to wonder at her joy over a cleaned bathroom, home-cooked meal, or reorganized freezer.
I used to wonder why it was so important we sweep and vacuum every day, or why she would organize the pillows and fold blankets before my dad came home from work.
I used to wonder why having the dishes done the night before started our mornings with a completely different tone.
I used to wonder why she would say yes to Taco Bell and Starbucks runs, or why she savored each and every visit to Target with her teenagers.
I used to wonder why she would linger for late-night talks, or why it was so special that we talked as much as we did.
I used to wonder why she rubbed our backs and feet whenever we felt sick, or why she would sacrifice her own body if it meant saving ours.
More than anything, I wondered how she could serve and love us all so well.
Now that I’m a mom, I get it.
I understand why stretchy pants, long shirts, and hot coffee are so important. I understand why birth stories are recounted in detail, and why the desire to smell babies (even if it does sound creepy) is so strong. I chase after a clean kitchen, tight hugs, and one more picture. I long for date nights and home-cooked meals made by anyone but me.
I get it because motherhood is changing me—just like it did her.
I still have so much more to learn, and it’s my honor to sacrifice with her.
The joy of every mom is to love her family well.
I’m thankful for my example.