-- Photo credit Tobie Andrews (2004)
Honestly, I am not a country music fan, but I happened upon this song the other day. Needless to say, 15 minutes later, I wiped my tears and tried to compose myself. It's just absolutely true!
Last night was our Lower School Carnival. I couldn't help but flashback to when my kids were little, excitedly bouncing from room to room -- fishing for prizes, getting their faces painted, or winning the grand prize "Snot Shot" gun (which actually made my, then, 8 year old son break down into tears of joy!) However, lurking alongside those snapshots as a young mom, are memories of being overwhelmed, exhausted, and even irritated! I remember thinking, is there something wrong with me? Why is this so hard?
Looking back, I can see what a gift those years were. Did I enjoy them? I think so, I remember being very busy SURVIVING them, much of the time. Parenting is difficult. Don't get me wrong -- being a mom is the hardest job I ever loved so much! Looking around at our parents at the carnival, many of them volunteering, after they had already put in a full day's work. The students literally bouncing off the walls. The excitement actually crackling in the air as they dragged their parents all the way from the DJ, to the petting zoo. What a precious night! -- I saw my own babies in every one of their faces. I also saw myself 15 years ago trying to locate & corral all three of my kiddos, only to head home for an hour of reading books, singing songs, and rubbing backs till they all fell asleep. I realize now that it is normal to be overwhelmed, sometimes. Being a mom can be flat out exhausting, but it's worth every single minute!
I remember my own mom telling me not to "wish my life away," as I couldn't wait to get to college and "start" living. I, of course, believed her to be bordering on crazy - so why in the world should I listen to her? However, I find myself saying the same things to my kids, as they yearn to be on their own, fantasize about their weddings, or declare their future babies' names. Striving to remind them gently that their life is happening NOW! Please don't miss it! Enjoy it!
These days, I don't hear "sing just one more song, Mommy." My evenings of trying to skip pages so my head could hit the pillow five minutes earlier, are long behind me. So my wish for you is to cherish every single page (they will catch you anyway). Live in the now! Don't get caught up comparing yourself to the carefully contrived virtual life of others on social media. Forgive yourself when you become overwhelmed and your fuse is a little short. Finally, even though she is not around to enjoy this, I have to end this blog with three words that will always be difficult to say out loud: "MOM WAS RIGHT!"