Dear mama,

Oh my gosh, can I just say it out loud?!? Something I never thought I would say?! 

OK, here it is: I am beyond grateful I don’t have pre-adults living at home. Certainly not now, not in 2020.

This is TOUGH. Beyond tough.

I never had to go through this kind of thing as a mom. Not even remotely. Never.

I never had to make decisions whether to choose my child’s mental health or physical health or try to navigate some weird combination of both, and then feel like my friends were questioning my every move.

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I never had to keep my kids away from their grandparents. That seems unfathomable to me and just plain wrong and of course, right at the same time.

I never had to lie awake worrying about whether or not we should go to church, to a friend’s house, to the playground, and on and on and on.  

I never had to think about how to get my 7-year-old to wear a mask at the grocery store without using it as a slingshot to hit his brother with a grape he just stole from the produce aisle.

I never had to make my kids do their schoolwork sitting in front of a screen while I tried to get my work done on my own screen, both of us completely confused as to how the heck this is going to work. Add one or two more kids. How is this a thing?

I’m just sorry.

I never had to watch my kids miss all those once-in-a-lifetime moments like last days of school, prom pictures, driver’s licenses on their birthdays, championship games, dance recitals, and after-graduation pictures with all the family who loves them so much. Horrible. I am crying just thinking about it and I am not even living it.

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I never had to try to calm my anxious child about all the crazy-making pandemic things, while I was freaking out inside about them myself. Nope. Not ever. Who even has to do that? And by the way, what kid isn’t anxious about this? And what mom isn’t?

This list could go on and on. All the never-have-I-evers.

Bottom line, my mama friend trying to hold on so desperately though this pandemic, this is TOUGH. Beyond tough.

But even though you are anxious, weak, exhausted, sad, and have feelings that don’t even have the right name and that I will never have or remotely understand, YOU are also tough.

As nails.
At times.
In spurts.
Just enough.

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Tough enough to make your very own decisions when everyone else around you is making different ones and it’s being blasted all over social media.

Tough enough to cry in the shower, on your grocery run, during your middle-of-the-night desperate prayers, and during that sappy Hallmark Channel movie.

Tough enough to break up the 486th fight between your kids before breakfast, make that blanket fort in the den again and again and again, and read “just one more” book at the end of an already beyond exhausting day.

Tough enough to be tender with yourself when you feel out-of-sorts, totally DONE, and mad at the world, your spouse, your friends, your parents, your kids, and even yourself.

Tough enough to keep taking one little step at a time, one day at a time, one week at a time.

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Tough enough to jump deep into the unknown waters, kids hanging from every limb, trusting yourself and the God Who’s got you.

So, my tough mama friend, I salute you. I’m standing on the sidelines of your mama life, cheering you on. I can’t wait until you look back and see what a great job you did loving your kids and loving yourself when the world as you knew it came crashing down.

I have a little sneaky feeling you will really be OK. So will your kids.

That’s all.

Sending as much love and hope as I can muster,

An older mama (who still has a lot to learn)

Esther Goetz

I am a wife to Allen for almost 28 years. I am a mom to four unique children aged 19-26, a mother-in-law to one and a grandmother to one cute little boy. I live in a sleepy, little town called Stirling, NJ. My true heart’s desire is to be a hope-bringer to women as we navigate this adventure of life together.