In the beginning, I didn't realize how much of myself I would need to let go of in order to give my little ones what they needed. From the unexpected c-section, to the initial 6 weeks of difficulty with nursing, and the sleep deprivation of the first several months...the reality of motherhood wasn't as romantic as I had so often imagined during my young adult years. I loved my little one and deeply enjoyed being a mom, but I struggled with how to find consistent joy through all the letting go.
Two & 1/2 years into being a stay-at-home mom, one weekday afternoon both my toddler daughter and infant son were sleeping a long nap (thanks to my friend Nancy who taught me how to tweak both of their schedules to get them to nap at the same time). I tuned into a Focus On the Family radio broadcast to find that Shirley Dobson and Gloria Gaither were being interviewed. It was a follow-up conversation to a 25-year prior broadcast. I tip-toed around my family room in an effort to get through my nap time to-do list alone, while listening to these now grandmother-stage moms share part two of their motherhood journeys.
Shirley shared about a day when her kids were small and she was feeling frustrated. On that long-ago afternoon, she had contemplated her previous career as a teacher and wondered why she'd left it behind "for this". Just then, Shirley tells, the phone rang...it was her mother-in-law. The first adult she came in contact with in her moment of frustration, she began to relay her woeful preschool mom troubles. The older Mrs. Dobson listened until Shirley was done venting, then responded, "Oh Shirley, these are the best days of your life!"
That's where I stopped dead in my tracks and laser-stared at the radio where those words came from. I didn't hear another word of the interview. "These are the best days of my life," I thought to myself with great shock, "Really??" Then, by the grace of God and unintentionally on my part, my thoughts fast-forwarded 20 years. Almost instantly I realized that life will be different. The children I spent so much time with now would longer be spending so many daily hours with me anymore! And my parents...would they be around? If so, what physical limitations would they be experiencing? Like a ton of bricks, it hit me, "She IS right!! These ARE the best days of my life!!" My perspective about motherhood was forever changed: this is THE best role God could have gifted me to live! I no longer suspected this as truth; it was now firmly planted in my heart.
From that afternoon to today, I look at motherhood with a distinctly permanent but temporary perspective. The permanent perspective keeps me committed to God's best for my kids daily and aware that I get to influence them and the generations that will come from them. The temporary perspective remembers pictures and videos of what seems like the recent past, and longs for one more day back in those days to savor my blessings just a little bit longer.
So, with sometimes watery but often smiling eyes, I walk-on in my motherhood journey with consistent gratitude for yesterday and constant determination to relish every bit of today (and every future stage of motherhood) - victories, struggles, and all! We get to be moms. We get to build into the children that He has loaned out to us...the ones He loves infinitely more than we do...more than even we can fathom. Amazing.