Prayer for my teenage boy

My 15-year-old son goes back to school tomorrow, and I’ve been thinking a lot about how weird it is to see him growing up. So I thought I’d share this prayer with you today. Lord, when people told me there is something special about the relationship between a mom and her son, they were right. But ...

Read More

My 15-year-old son goes back to school tomorrow, and I’ve been thinking a lot about how weird it is to see him growing up. So I thought I’d share this prayer with you today.


Lord, when people told me there is something special about the relationship between a mom and her son, they were right. But as much as I adore this boy, I admit that there are times I have absolutely no understanding of him. He’s like an alien creature inhabiting my world.

When I go to wake him up, I marvel at the way that this child of mine stretches completely across the entire mattress. When he talks, I’m amazed at how deep his voice is. When girls flirt with him, it makes me laugh. He’s still my baby, that little boy that pulled my neck towards him to hold my face in his chubby hands and kiss me. The one who threw temper tantrums and hid behind furniture. The one who played with Legos while singing adorably mispronounced song lyrics.

But yet… he’s almost 6 feet tall. He’s stinky and has whiskers and hairy legs. He’s never without a phone in his hand—unless he’s playing video games or sports—and he takes 400,000 selfies a day for SnapChat and can’t talk about anything but cars. One minute he hugs me and the next he wants nothing to do with me. He still needs his mama but he wants his dad to teach him how to be a man. He needs direction but wants independence. There’s a part of him that is still soft inside, still vulnerable, still tender, but he fights that because it’s not what he thinks a man is supposed to be.

Lord, help me to be the kind of mom he needs me to be. Let me be his safe place to be himself, without any pretense. Let me be the source of unconditional love and fierce mama-bear protection. Let me always be the one he holds doors for. Thank you for letting me be the person who gets the way his brain works, who knows what will make him laugh, who is willing to set him up for all of his sarcastic responses and nerdy jokes. But help me to hold him to a high standard (and still show him love if he doesn’t live up to that). Help me let him know his value without inflating his ego.

But more than that, Lord, help him to embrace becoming the man You want him to be. Never stop talking to him, whispering to him to make smart choices and be true to who he is. Help him choose his friends wisely, and surround him with people who bring out the best in him, who challenge him to work harder and be more kind and generous. Let him shoot high when he sets goals, and help him to learn from his mistakes but have the perseverance to try again. Let him know that he doesn’t have to hide his brain to be popular. Help him to be funny without ever being mean. Teach him to gauge his worth in You and not care about his relative popularity among his peers.

Hold tight to him, Lord. Give him the courage to put You first. To let others see how much he loves You. To go to You first for advice and direction. To stand up and be a man and to look at Jesus as his ultimate role model. Whatever he does in this life, let his love for You be clear to others, and let his service to You be done gladly and passionately. Keep him centered, Lord. Because You are the rock. Of his salvation and of mine. You are the anchor that holds us all in place. You are the source of our strength. You are our hope and our redeemer. And You are able to do all things. There’s no one else I could trust with him (or with my girls).

You are my everything. And my greatest prayer for him is that You will become his everything, too. Amen.

Prayer for the mom without a mom

Dear Lord, Mother’s Day is hard. It’s difficult to celebrate this role when the one who taught me the most, the one whose opinion mattered so much, isn’t here any longer. It’s hard to think about how to be what my children need when I face this gaping hole, an absence where it still feels ...

Read More

Dear Lord,

Mother’s Day is hard. It’s difficult to celebrate this role when the one who taught me the most, the one whose opinion mattered so much, isn’t here any longer.

It’s hard to think about how to be what my children need when I face this gaping hole, an absence where it still feels like my mom should be. When, even after several years, I feel lost… adrift… permanently damaged, even as I go about my days. I’m not depressed. But I miss her. I feel perpetually lonely without her.

On a day like today, all I can think about is what my mom did for me. How she—even through her criticisms—was my unconditional place. My biggest supporter and strongest cheerleader. How she saw what was bad, misguided, or just plain wrong in my actions—and didn’t hesitate to say so—because she believed I was capable of so much more. Because she thought I was so much better than that.

I wonder now—when I rebelled, did it hurt her the way my own kids hurt me?

Did she stand firm in her opinions anyway, simply because there was no other choice? Because she had to be the mom she knew I needed, rather than the one I thought I wanted?

Did she lie awake at night, wondering if she was doing right by her kids?

Did she fume all day when I yelled at her unjustly?

And even so, did she defend me, instinctively, against any and all criticisms?

Did she mourn over her inability to protect me from people who would hurt me, injure my opinion of myself, break my heart?

I’m certain she did. As a teen, I was oblivious to that. As a parent myself, I now understand her better. Lord, You gave me wonderful mom, and I’m so grateful. And You’ve blessed me with remarkable, amazing children. So why do I feel more like crying than rejoicing?

Because I fully recognize all that I lost. All that she was to me. All that a mom should be to her child. And I’m afraid I can’t live up. I’m afraid I’ve already failed irreparably. I’m afraid my kids will never understand the depths of my love for them. My desperation to shield them from all that could harm them. My unlimited hopes and aspirations for them. They may never understand how deeply I feel the things that hurt them. Or how much I believe in them.

Maybe they’ll get it when they have children of their own.

Maybe someday they’ll cling to You when they realize they don’t have control over their own kids’ lives. Maybe they’ll live in awe of a God who loves us with a Father’s love. Maybe they’ll understand that we are forever connected, whether we’re both on this earth or not. Maybe they’ll grasp the reality that parenting well involves huge risk. It involves making unpopular decisions and hard choices and knowing that we can’t fix everything. It requires being hands-off sometimes when our instincts tell us to cling tight. It consists of a love so great that it isn’t changed by circumstances, actions, achievements—or by disappointments or failures. Our hearts are forever tethered to each other.

Lord, as I write this, I feel my heart loosening. My gratitude welling up. My sadness is still there but not bringing me down… instead, it’s lifting up my head, directing my sight towards You. Because I do have reasons to celebrate. Reasons so much greater than flowers and gifts or the perfect card.

I have You. And I had her (and will always have her, even if she’s not here). And I have my kids.

And I do have joy… in spite of the sadness. But on this day, with Your help, I will let joy prevail. Thank You, Lord.

Amen.

Prayer for the weary parent

Lord, I am so tired. Yes, of course I love my children. I adore them. I’m grateful for them, for their own unique quirks and personalities, for the ways they make me laugh, for the joys they’ve brought into my life. I sometimes look at them in wonder—usually as they sleep—amazed by Your creation. ...

Read More

[Also posted at Internet Café today]

Lord, I am so tired.

Yes, of course I love my children. I adore them. I’m grateful for them, for their own unique quirks and personalities, for the ways they make me laugh, for the joys they’ve brought into my life. I sometimes look at them in wonder—usually as they sleep—amazed by Your creation. Awed by their perfection. Humbled by the powerful emotions they bring out in me. Honored to be given the chance to be part of their life, to be in a position to influence and teach and guide.

But at the same time, I’m weary. It’s hard to be a parent, to make decisions that aren’t easy and won’t make me popular. It’s difficult to enforce the rules, day after day, to monitor behavior and ask them to pick things up and remind them to do homework and to not take it personally every time they resist. To not be hurt by disrespect and disagreement and rebellion, whether large or small.

It’s exhausting, constantly fighting to get my kids to see reason. It’s challenging to know that I can’t make all their choices for them. I can’t protect them from bad decisions, I can’t ensure they never face harsh consequences, and I can’t do everything for them.

And really, I don’t want to. I offered them to You when they were born, and I trust You to lead them and take care of them. I want them to learn from their experiences and I believe they are strong enough, smart enough, and capable enough to succeed (in all the different kinds of ways we measure success). I don’t want to overstep my bounds. As my friend Lisa told me once, our job as parents is to put ourselves out of a job. To teach our kids what they need to know to live. To love. To respect and honor and obey and be productive.

And to lean on You. Because if there is one thing I do know, it is that life is hard. Even when it looks like we have it all together. The only way to get through is to turn towards You, to allow You to teach us individually, personally, in whatever ways we each learn best.

So, Lord, help me lean on You today. Let my kids see that even though I’m not perfect, my mistakes are made out of a desire to protect them, which stems from the amazing depths of the love a parent feels for a child. Let them see that, no matter what they face, it’s better to go through it with You than without You. You can lift the burdens which are too heavy, and enrich the good moments beyond measure. You will shine light into the darkness that they will inevitably face. You will reveal that which is a mystery in the right time. You will endure that which seems too hard to bear. And You will emerge victorious, with them by Your side.

While I wait, while I watch them develop into the people You knew they would become, let me be gracious. Let me cheer them on and not drag them down. Let me hold my tongue when they need to listen instead for You. Let me be a safe place for them to return, an unending source of love to come home to. Restore my weary soul, physically and emotionally. Remind me that You are in control so I don’t have to be. Show me how to relinquish my grasp on their lives and live in faith, how to turn my worrying into prayer.

As You help them grow, do the same for me. Because if anyone understands the turmoil of a parent’s love for a child, it is You. If anyone knows what it means to watch our kids go through hard things and not step in, it is You. If anyone understands the unending, deep and passionate and desperate love we feel, it is You.

The enormity of that takes my breath away, and I know once again the complete truth: We could not be in better hands. Thank You, Jesus. I love You.

Perfectly formed (guest post from Courtney Westlake)

When my daughter was first born, I thought they just needed to wipe her off. At first glance, she seemed to be covered with a thick coating of white, causing confusion and near-panic with the medical staff in the room. It soon became clear that the towel the nurse was using to clean her wouldn’t ...

Read More

When my daughter was first born, I thought they just needed to wipe her off.

At first glance, she seemed to be covered with a thick coating of white, causing confusion and near-panic with the medical staff in the room. It soon became clear that the towel the nurse was using to clean her wouldn’t alleviate anyone’s concerns.

Because the white covering was her skin.

Our daughter Brenna (our second child and sister to our now five-year-old son Connor) was born in 2011 with a very severe, very rare genetic skin condition called Harlequin Ichthyosis (har-le-kwin ick-thee-oh-sis).

This severe disorder means that Brenna’s body has trouble with things like regulating her body temperature – she can’t even sweat – and keeping bacteria out, so she can get skin infections easily. It also means that her body produces skin about 10 times too fast, leaving her with very dry, peeling skin that looks like a sunburn all over her body.

Brenna’s condition affects our lives very profoundly every day and has caused the last three years to be filled with surgeries, doctor and therapy appointments, and a lot of health issues. But my husband, Evan, and I have never questioned why – we have believed from the very beginning in God’s plan for Brenna’s life.

We are often asked what is “wrong” with Brenna, with her skin or her face. But to be wrong is to be mistaken… and I don’t believe that mistakes happen with our awesome God.

When Brenna was just a few days old, critically ill in the neonatal intensive care unit, a family member came to us and said: “I haven’t talked to God in years… but I’ve been praying for Brenna.”

It was in that moment that I was assured that God had an extraordinary purpose for her life, and that he was bringing his children closer to him through our daughter and working through her to reach the hearts of others.

And, as I soon discovered, God was also working through me, by giving me the courage to stand up and say that my daughter is not wrong, she is beautiful.

God has given us the courage to find the beauty in this life, not the tragedy. We believe whole-heartedly that Brenna was given to us uniquely and beautifully created by God, not that she was given to us broken.

Within this, we are learning every day how to discover the beauty in the different and the unexpected. Where society often mocks different, we have found God’s beautiful creation in our differences and are learning to glorify his awesomeness through our distinct personalities, talents, and yes, appearances.

And yet, as we learn to appreciate and to celebrate our differences – our own and each other’s – it also serves as a great reminder that the God who created each of us with unique purpose and talents also created us with a likeness in his image.

We are different, and we are the same – none of us perfect, but formed purposely by a perfect Creator. And there is nothing wrong about that.

022

To read more of Brenna and Courtney’s story, visit her blog at www.blessedbybrenna.com.

What question should we ban from small talk?

Today’s guest post is from Sarah Philpott. I’ll share with you her bio from her website, allamericanmom.net, to give you an idea what her blog is like: Hey y’all! I’m Sarah—a farmer’s wife and mom to two mischievous little kids. I’m a lover of big earrings, the written word, traveling, hosting parties for my friends, ...

Read More

ThePhilpottFamily-131Today’s guest post is from Sarah Philpott. I’ll share with you her bio from her website, allamericanmom.net, to give you an idea what her blog is like:

Hey y’all! I’m Sarah—a farmer’s wife and mom to two mischievous little kids. I’m a lover of big earrings, the written word, traveling, hosting parties for my friends, and sitting on my front-porch soaking up life. This blog is devoted to helping families through the turmoil of pregnancy loss. If you’ve found yourself here because you’ve experienced loss…please let me tell you that I am so sorry. On occasion, I like to give a glimpse into my day-to-day life as a millennial farm mom. Thanks for dropping by! ~~Comforting Others with the Comfort We Have Received~~ 2 Corinthians 1:3-4

What I’ve discovered, as someone who is fortunate to have not had to face infertility or the loss of a child, is that even though I personally haven’t faced these things, I have friends who have. And the recurring theme in all that I’ve read is that when people face these struggles, they often feel alienated and alone and unable to share the truth. I think we all, whatever stage of life we are in, need to be aware of what so many people face and learn to have the awkward conversations but to do it with love and compassion and grace. This is such a good post that Sarah was willing to share. Enjoy!


So, when are you going to have a kid?
Do you want more kids?
Are you finished having kids?
Why don’t you have any kids?

When we reach a certain age, these questions come directed at us with sniper-like speed. They are asked by the sweetest, most well-meaning people ever: the little old lady who sits at the end of our church row, the older-widowed gentleman who is behind us in line at the grocery store, and the man at the party who doesn’t know a follow-up question to “what do you think of the weather.”

But, these questions are also asked in a taunting and teasing manner. You know the ones: “So, when you are you and Vanessa going to get that baby making started? Do you need me to tell you how it works?” ( wink, wink) says your husband’s business colleague in the middle of the company party.

Tisk, tsk, tsk. Neither Emily Post nor Amy Vanderbilt would approve of such banter as appropriate. I’m sure it is mentioned in their etiquette books between the chapters of “how to address a wedding invitation” and “how to fold a napkin.” To put it simply, “baby makin’ ain’t a topic for small-talk.”

IT’S JUST A SIMPLE QUESTION. WHY DO YOU HAVE TEARS IN YOUR EYES?

The reason questions related to procreation can be uncomfortable is because a large percentage of couples face the reality of infertility or pregnancy loss. For these couples, their heart’s desire and the timing of God fail to intersect at the same point. It can bring with it angst, sadness, and confusion. These couples have learned that creating a child isn’t as easy as making a dinner reservation, and they don’t necessarily want to share their personal details with the man standing behind them at the grocery line. It’s not that they want to keep this a secret; it’s just that they don’t really want to unleash real, raw emotions in the middle of Publix. A deluge of tears might spill down aisle 5.

WHAT ARE WOMEN REALLY THINKING?

Let’s examine the thoughts of ten women when they are asked the innocuous question: “Are you going to have kids?” You can read how emotionally laden such a simple question might be:

??? SO, WHEN ARE YOU GOING TO HAVE KIDS ???

chart for Sarah Philpott post

I say, “Enough already!”As you can read, this simple question can trigger a variance of emotional responses for many women and couples.  Fertility issues are invisible burdens that many couples bear; we should acknowledge that possibility before asking such a personal inquiry.

Questioning in the middle of the grocery store- not okay. Questioning over a cup of coffee during an intimate conversation- okay. Questioning in the middle of church “hand-shaking” time- not okay. Questioning in the middle of a private conversation at church-maybe okay.

We should definitely give grace and forgiveness to acquaintances whom inquire about such personal matters. Many have a motive of pure kindness and are not privy to inner struggles. Also, opening up to other people about struggles and fears can be extremely helpful; it is through conversation and vulnerability that we find out that others might have faced similar circumstances and might be able to offer us hope, wisdom, and kinship.

Those of us with fertility issues might also consider responding with the truth—even if the question-asker is put in an awkward position. Responding by saying, “Actually we do WANT children, but we have complications with fertility. Do you mind praying for us?” Answering this way can be powerful, freeing, and makes a social statement that infertility and pregnancy loss are not topics of shame.

But as a society we should all stop using the question of children as small-talk. Only ask if you are prepared for a real answer and ready to provide a listening ear (or a slap in the face). Likewise, let’s all (men, I’m mainly talking to you) make a concerted effort to stop teasing people (mainly your fellow guy friends) about having or not having kids.

Readers, repeat after me, “I will stop teasing people about whether or not they have children. I will stop asking acquaintances if they want more or any children. Instead, I will ask about the weather or their summer vacation plans.”

And we all say, “Amen.”

So, what’s your favorite small-talk question to ask someone? And, what’s your favorite way to answer the “Do you want to have kids?” question?

Keep it simple (guest post by Stephanie Alton)

When I found out that not only did I get to write a new book, but that it had to be done by the end of the summer, I alternated between excited and totally freaked out. One day I posted in the Facebook group set up for all of my agent’s clients, asking for volunteers to ...

Read More

Stephanie AltonWhen I found out that not only did I get to write a new book, but that it had to be done by the end of the summer, I alternated between excited and totally freaked out. One day I posted in the Facebook group set up for all of my agent’s clients, asking for volunteers to guest post, and so many people graciously responded. I’m so grateful. Today I am welcoming Stephanie Alton. She is the Blog Resource Manager for my agent’s company and blog network and she’s been lovely to work with. Hope you enjoy! Here’s what she had to say…


Many years ago, I had a math teacher who taught me about the KISS principle. The Keep It Simple Stupid (KISS) principle was used to help me, and my classmates, remember to simplify the equations we worked on. I have since forgotten many of the formulas that I learned in this class, but for some reason the Keep It Simple Stupid phrase stuck with me. And now I have found a new way to use this concept.

Since school let out over a month ago I have had a hard time with what to do with my boys. We go out and have fun from time to time, but we have not done anything super special. Because of the lack of summer excitement, I have been comparing myself to other mothers who have done so much with their children already, and this makes me feel like I am failing (which stresses-me-out!).

With so much filling our calendar (that isn’t always summer break kind of stuff) I don’t even remember exactly when I had this thought, but one afternoon I sought advice from The Lord on what to do to make our summer special because I was: 1) overwhelmed by the thought of summer activity planning, and 2) I was/am tired.

As petty as my personal conflict was, it still wore me down. It was a big burden on my heart. I felt like I had disappointed my children by not doing something grand this summer. What better time to reflect on Matthew 11:28-29 than when we are overwhelmed with anything.

“Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” 

GRAPHIC let me teach you

After I went to The Lord in prayer with the burden that laid heavy on my heart, the words of my math teacher from long ago came drifting back to mind, “Keep It Simple Stupid.” An aha moment happened as I reflected on the words: Keep. It. Simple.

Perhaps The Lord is reminding me of the advice that my math teacher offered long ago because I am looking for a solution to the equation of how to raise my children, balance it all, and still create fun summer memories. I am just supposed to apply the principle in a different manner than the way I was originally taught.

Keep it simple does not mean keeping up with the Jones’ and fill every minute of the day with extravagant activities (sigh of relief). Keep it simple does not mean stressing over what we have not done, but helping my children learn to be grateful for what we have done (wipe the sweat of my brow). Keep it simple does mean making sure my boys know I love them (no matter what we do).

So with new peace within me, our simple summer is just that. Simple. We are spending time together. We are working. We are taking care of business. That’s about it, and I am ok with it.

Has your summer been filled with fun so far? Or are you like me and have to keep it simple this year?


Stephanie Alton is the Blog Resource Manager at The Blythe Daniel Agency and blogs at www.theprincessdisciple.com. Connect with Stephanie on Facebook or on Twitter.

Two years

I’d roll my eyes at her (on a good day). Slam the phone down on a bad day. Slam doors when I lived at home (and then, immediately, crank Joan Jett’s song “You’re a Nag” at top volume. I’ve always been subtle.). Lie about how much my new shoes cost (or the fact that there ...

Read More

I’d roll my eyes at her (on a good day). Slam the phone down on a bad day. Slam doors when I lived at home (and then, immediately, crank Joan Jett’s song “You’re a Nag” at top volume. I’ve always been subtle.). Lie about how much my new shoes cost (or the fact that there were two pairs, or quite possibly two pairs plus an outfit and a purse). Belligerently place very high-maintenance orders at restaurants, knowing it horrified her, because, doggone it, why have them bring me food I won’t eat? She sighed, loudly, every time I’d confess a new commitment or start a new project. She possibly thought I was in need of an intervention because my particular brand of faith was a little too out there for her.

But then, five minutes after hanging up from our last conversation, I’d remember something I needed to tell her — someone I ran into, something funny I read. So I’d call her back and we’d talk for another 15 minutes.

It has now been two years since I made one of those calls, since I heard my mom’s voice. 365 days in a year, times two. Times three or four times a day. 2,550 missed conversations.

I’m so lost without her. So lonely, even with my kids and my husband and my sister and my dad and my friends and my church and my work. So empty, even with a schedule filled beyond full. I’m just now learning how to be OK with making my own decisions, even ones she wouldn’t like. For a while, I did that on purpose, out of spite that she wasn’t here to stop me.

But because she’s not here to stop me, I’m seeing things I didn’t see before, like who she really was. Annoying, loving. Wrong, right. By being indelibly herself, she’s taught me how much she mattered, and how little the trivial, emotional stuff does.

My kids don’t have to like me to love me. They don’t have to admit it, but they need me. But even if they don’t like me or love me, and even if they don’t need me, they will be changed because of me. Just as I am different because of them. We are inexorably bound, DNA and plasma and proteins in common, generations behind us, future before us.

Whether I’m here. Or not.

Because no one will ever, or has ever, loved me quite like she loved me. And no one else can ever truly understand the way we related, the connection we had, the relationship we shared. No one else will ever truly want to know where I am at any (or every) given minute, or what I wore to my meeting, or how long it’s been since I heard from my long-ago ex-boyfriends. No one else will ever accept me the way she did while simultaneously questioning me and challenging me every step of the way. No one else can ever be Mom, and my life will never be the same without her. Some parts are irretrievably lost, and some, incomprehendably, seem to be just starting. I long to let go, to release every bit of my pain and suffering and loneliness and forget how much I need her, but I’m simultaneously desperate to hang on, to hold tightly to every little snippet or memory or memento or person who knew her.

So I try. Every day, another step. Another shoddy attempt to be the kind of mom she was, all the while still trying to work out who I am and what kind of mom I want to be. Another night to try not to think of her as I fall exhausted into bed. Another day to attempt to show my kids that they, too, can go on without her, hoping they don’t notice how miserably I’m failing at that very same task. But it’s all I can do, because I’m here, and she’s not, and all is not right with this world.

Yet it is, because even when she’s not here, she is. Wherever God is, there she is also. Wherever I am, God is. And where God is, lives are changed. Hope is renewed. Failures are redeemed. And broken hearts are comforted, even if they are still broken. Faith remains even where faith was lost. Words still tumble through my brain, making sense and losing it, longing and pushing away.

And somewhere, Mom is smiling. Knowing she’s missed, knowing she still matters, trusting me to eventually get this right. Believing I have it in me. Knowing she put it there in the first place, and now she’s just waiting for me to find it. And probably rolling her eyes, again and again, as I stumble along the way. Just as proud of me as if I’d gotten it right the very first try.

Happy Mother’s Day (or proof that I have issues)

Let me donate blood. Get a mammogram. A root canal. Fill out a 30-page tax form. Anything but this. Anything but celebrate Mother’s Day.  It’s supposed to be a happy day. Never mind that I’m happy to be a mother, because every sentimental thought about mothers is like an ice pick jabbing me in the side. You ...

Read More

Let me donate blood. Get a mammogram. A root canal. Fill out a 30-page tax form. Anything but this. Anything but celebrate Mother’s Day. 

Mom and me picnic

It’s supposed to be a happy day. Never mind that I’m happy to be a mother, because every sentimental thought about mothers is like an ice pick jabbing me in the side. You don’t have a mom. You don’t have a mom. You don’t have a mom anymore. The day becomes not about who I am, but what I don’t have.

It’s supposed to be a pampered day. But I’m the kind of person that would rather not be celebrated just because Hallmark said today is the day you should do this. I appreciate the thought, I really do, but either they genuinely love me or they don’t. If they don’t, let’s not spend the day pretending. And if they do, why don’t they show it all year long? To me, the holiday simply sets up expectations that inevitably lead to disappointment. I’m not grateful enough, or my kids aren’t sincere enough. Either way, someone is disappointed. And on Mother’s Day, you’re supposed to want to spend time with your kids. What I’d really like is a break — not from them, but from responsibility. I look around at the other moms and their kids, skipping along with baskets of daffodils and giddy expressions, and I feel like I’m not enough. As though I’ve failed at this task of mothering because I don’t love it enough, don’t do it well enough.

It’s supposed to be a relaxing day. In spite of my kids’ good intentions, I am able to see through the day, over and over, how necessary I am, because even on Mother’s Day I’m needed to find a lost pair of shoes or figure out why the printer isn’t working or help decide on a topic for the paper that’s due tomorrow. I want to be necessary for my kids. I want to be the rock my mom was to me, the one person that, no matter how much she disagreed with how I spent my time or money, delighted in me.

And again, the sharp pain in my side, in my chest, in my heart. I don’t have a mom anymore.

Celebrate her anyway, some of you will say. Talk to her like she’s here. But she’s not. She’s really not. And I can’t celebrate her value and worth without an equal share of grief for what I’ve lost. I was lucky to have her. She was amazing, probably more so than I ever realized. And although she knew I loved her, I don’t think even I knew how much I loved her until she wasn’t there anymore.

And these thoughts — guess what? —  lead to more feelings of failure. If I were a better mom, I wouldn’t let these things get me down. If I were a better mom, I’d be able to forget myself and let my kids celebrate me.

Immature, maybe. Irrational, probably. And still.

The thing is, I’m not a better mom. I’m just me, a woman trying to find my own way, lost without the one person who knows just how to be the mom I wish I could be to my kids. Feeling my way through each day, trying to be what my kids need me to be, trying to accept that my style of mothering doesn’t look like anyone else’s, hoping not to fail my kids even as I try to do all the other things I feel called to do. Knowing even as I make decisions day by day that they are not always ones Mom would have agreed with. Knowing she wasn’t perfect, either, and that nobody could get under my skin the way she did. Knowing that, no matter how much I fight it and try to shove down my anger, it’s all there because she was, in fact, such a stinkin’ good mom.

This website and its content are copyright of Kelly O'Dell Stanley  | © Kelly O'Dell Stanley 2017. All rights reserved.

Site design by 801red

Error: Please enter a valid email address

Error: Invalid email

Error: Please enter your first name

Error: Please enter your last name

Error: Please enter a username

Error: Please enter a password

Error: Please confirm your password

Error: Password and password confirmation do not match