When I became pregnant for the first time, having endured several months of fertility treatments, I was confident that I knew exactly what I was getting into. I’d read books and articles, I’d studied other parents in my sphere, and in my youthful arrogance I was sure I’d be the perfect mama.
Then, after birthing my daughter, reality walked up and b*#ch slapped me, knocking me flat on my smug posterior leaving my ego bruised and bloody. Dazed, I realized I didn’t know squat. This motherhood gig was HARD.
My baby girl was born slightly premature. Ever sleepy in those initial weeks, I’d jiggle her skinny little chicken-legs to keep her conscious enough to eat, having no idea those tiny limbs would one day dance strong and light across a stage.
Dealing with an easily overwhelmed toddler, watching her throw herself to the ground with shrieks piercing enough to wake the dead, desperately trying to salvage my dignity, I’d never have guessed she would grow up to be so calm and self-possessed.
Coaching her at her miniature red school desk, assuring her that the letter ‘e’ really didn’t need to be perfectly formed every. single. time. Gazing into those big, beautiful, defeated, tear-filled eyes, I didn’t know she was already forming a formidable tenacity.
Seeing her no-nonsense attitude, taking charge of her siblings, I feared she would never learn to be flexible. Her solemn countenance and quiet, reserved nature brought me worry that she would take this life far too seriously. I feared I was doing it all wrong, that I would be condemning her to a lifetime of therapy with my many failings as a mother. I didn’t know how to bring out the gentle, open, witty young woman I saw glimmers of.
I didn’t know that she would grow into all of that in her own time, in spite of me.
Yes, I thought I’d be the perfect mama. But nothing has brought my personal weaknesses into full, technicolor light like becoming a mother. In no other area of life have I failed so spectacularly, so many times over. In any other endeavor, I’d have given up long ago, thrown in the towel, jumped the train…but in some mystical mama-way I DID know some things…
To this infinitely precious child of my heart:
Today I celebrate 20 years as your mother. We’re alike in a multitude of ways, yet you are so much more than I ever dared to be.
From the first time my eyes roamed your tiny face, I knew you would be beautiful and brilliant, fearless and funny, graceful and gutsy. On some level, I knew you would become all the things I wished I was.
So Happy Birthday, my glorious one. Thank you for bringing me such joy, for being one of my besties, for being so forgiving of this arrogant and clueless woman.
I love you beyond measure and pray buckets of blessing on you today!
To my mama friends in the trenches. This is a hard, hard job, but stand firm in what you know in your heart of hearts. Love your babies as if they are already grown into the amazing people our Father has created them to be. And trust, that in His time, in their time, they will become precisely who they are supposed to be.