I'm the kind of woman that wants to do it all, have it all, and be it all. Which shouldn't be surprising considering the expectations I had set for myself as the "IT" mom. I want to work and write and cook and bake and keep house and be involved in ministry and have parties and have big dinners with real dishes and mother and mentor and hang out with friends and craft and, and, and. It's not always that I feel like I have to do all of those things. I want to do them all. I take joy in being a woman and creating beauty and living out all of these different places that God has invited me to live in as a wife, mom, writer, creator, Jesus-follower, and all around beauty-lover.
While I am a mother, it's not all of who I am. And since having Tommy, I think there have been parts of me that have fought to maintain my identity as a woman and not just as a mother.
If anything though, the last year of life taught me that motherhood requires more selflessness than I ever thought it did. That dying to yourself, your desires and wants and freedoms is something that is required if you are to ever be a mom. That's where many of my tears and frustrations came from was not being able to do what I wanted to do, when I wanted to do it.
Like even the simple task of cooking dinner. If you haven't read my chili story - please, have a read. It's quite entertaining.
The thing with doing it all too is the sense of pride that comes with it. If I can juggle all of my balls perfectly in the air, then you will think I am amazing. You will stand in awe and wonder of all that I am able to do and then I will feel fabulously about myself.
It was a humbling realization to learn that my desires and wants to do it all, and have it all and be it all were more than about pleasing others. It was about proving something. Proving something to you. To me even.
But, I realized I was needing to prove something to my mom.
If you've read my blog for any amount of time, you know that she died when I was 18, and that our relationship was distant and awkward. And as an adult woman, I've spent most of those years grieving what we never had, the memories we could never make, and the conversations we would never have. I was so wounded by her, that I set out to prove something to myself. That I could be more or better or stronger or whatever - because I needed something from her that she never gave to me.
After this last humbling, frustrating, exhausting season of life with a challenging baby, never in my life have I wished more that she were here. If she were, I would cry. And I would hug her. I would tell her I was sorry. I would tell her that I wish I knew more of what grace was when I was younger because she needed it from me. And I would tell her thank you for everything she ever did. Everything she ever gave up. Every sacrifice and ounce of energy and meal she made and love that she poured into the lives of me and my brother and my sister. I'm sure there were nights she wanted to take off and have drinks with girlfriends. Or spend an evening at Bible study rather than tending to my brother's medical needs. Or just reading a book without interruptions or questions or laundry.
She may not have showed me love in a lot of the ways I was needing, but she did show me love. And it's taken me five years and two boys, spilled chili and a bucket of tears to see and believe and know she loved me with all that she had within her to love me with.
It's been hard to feel like I've even been doing a good job in the last year as a mom. But I've loved with all that I've had in me to love my boys with. And if my mom were here, she would smile and cry and tell me that I was doing great and that my boys would know they were loved.
Even if it took them 33 years to really believe it.