Moose and I were blessed last week. My parents whisked us away to Orlando for a week away from reality. A week of giggles, snuggles, and adventures.
I am a very blessed woman. I am not sure that I say that enough here. Quite frankly, this platform has morphed into a place where I can untangle the thoughts in my mind. It is a place that I publicly process the growth I am experiencing. You see, you have a choice in tough situations. You can look at it, dissect it, and chose to move forward and better yourself. Or you can turn and run. I choose the first. It isn’t pretty. It isn’t a beautiful montage that can be seen in a movie reel. It is messy. It is ugly. It can be full of rage. Or tears. Or self pity and hate. My journey has been full of all of that. Clearly, as you all have been privy to most of it.
As ugly as the journey is, it doesn’t remove the blessings.
I have a support system that most people can only dream of. I not only have family that love my son and I so much that they would enter the Thunder-dome to assist in caring for him- but I have friends that love him as much as they love me. As a single mother, I cannot explain the unicorns that these people are.
When I was pregnant with my kiddo, I didn’t allow myself to picture him as anything but a newborn. A baby that would coo at me and provide endless, adorable cuddles. I could only hold onto those pictures because I feared what came after. A little boy that had a personality. That would want to play and do things. A tiny human that I had no clue how to interact with.
When my ex-husband and I would discuss him as a little boy, I would shut it down in my head. As the panic would creep up my body, I would divert to him. I would jokingly tell him that once the baby phase was past, it would be his turn. He would know what to do with this little boy. He was good with kids- an enigma that I had yet to decipher.
I felt woefully inept.
Fast forward three years- I am sitting on a balcony chatting away with my miniature sidekick in the early morning light. It’s easy. Joyful. A paradise that I never knew existed.
I have reached a point of parenthood I thought impossible. I don’t have a spouse to differ to. Someone that can unravel the mystery of this child for me. An assistance I haven’t ever needed. And I thank God for it every day.
Please don’t misunderstand that last sentence. I am not trying to say that I am soldiering alone and I am just so good at it that I don’t need another soul. I need a lot of people. As mentioned above, I have a village. I need my village. I am thankful that I have grown into the mother that I am. I am thankful that my son is not a puzzle that daunts my days. I don’t second guess how to interact with him. I am not left speechless by his daily musings.
Connecting to this bundle of kinetic energy is effortless.
Again, don’t misunderstand- I am not implying that parenting is effortless. It is the hardest thing I have done in my life. Trying to form this tiny ball into a thoughtful, empathetic person that poops in acceptable places is confusing. He tests my emotional limits often. But interacting with this turd? That’s just fun. I don’t over analyze it like I anticipated I would.
What surprises me more than my comfort with my son is how it has spread. I don’t get panic attacks when small children chat with me or hand me a toy. I chat back. I watch them with my son and my heart swells. On weekends that I don’t have my son, I marinate in simple moments with other people’s children. The giggles and waves I get in Mass from the pews before me. The chats in the grocery store checkout. Watching the simple pleasures of a mother and son enjoying lunch and laughing. I must admit, I have become a bit of a creeper when my side is absent of my co-conspirator. I take great joy in being the voyeur of simple family moments. I consider- though always briefly before logic sets in- asking to hold a cute baby or fussy toddler. To steal a few minutes of snuggles to fill my empty arms.
I don’t really have a point to this weeks post. I guess I am relieved to have an epiphany that doesn’t include self scrutiny or hard truths I need to face. I am full of gratitude. For my son. For the role of mother. For grace. God knew what I was capable of when I was not. He knew that my arms were made to comfort this strong willed little man. He knew that my heart was more than prepared for selfless love. That my imagination would rise to the occasion. My inhibitions would melt away for his giggle.
I think as moms- actually, I think as parents- we need to remember grace. Remember that we are human. Fallible. Our children don’t need perfection. They just need us, as we are, doing the best that we can. They need us flawed. How else would they know that it’s okay for them to make mistakes too? I am my son’s example- not of just the good things, but the hard things. How to apologize. How to admit a mistake. That it’s okay to not have all of the answers. To adapt.
I’m still learning these things. I am learning how to love myself. That my flaws are integral to making me who I am- not just the perfection I search for. I guess where all of this culminates is here- with Mother’s day approaching, remember this, mama- you are exactly who you are supposed to be. You are doing a good job, even when you make mistakes. And when you do- as they are inevitable- remember grace. Give yourself the same grace that you grant to those you love. You are the mother your children need, just the way that you are. You were built for this, flaws and all. If you look at the way you love your little one, instead of the ways you wish you were better, you may just surprise yourself.