There is no written handbook for motherhood with instructions for “if and when” or recipes for “how much and how little”. We do our best, follow intuition, and love fiercely.
Fortunately, because of you, I had a blueprint for motherhood stashed away in my heart and mind long before my baby was born. This blueprint gave me a lot of comfort and confidence as I prepared for motherhood; it didn’t, however, fully prepare me for the ways my world would change. There was no way to fully understand the grand capacity of being a mother until I became one myself.
But now, I understand.
I understand why you’ve slept very little and worried very much for the last 37 years.
I understand why you love coffee so much: morning, noon, and night.
I understand why you used to lock yourself in your bedroom for five minutes of peace when my brothers and I just didn’t stop.
I understand why we ate a lot of Egg Noodle Chicken Dinner and frozen chicken cordon bleu, because neither time nor money grow on trees.
I understand why you stayed up countless nights perfecting dioramas and science projects.
I understand why you never braided (or brushed) my hair, because some things just aren’t worth the battle.
I understand why you often forgot to rub in your under eye concealer and once got pulled over in your pajamas on the way to school drop-off.
I understand why you used to fall asleep in the driver’s seat when given ten minutes of alone time waiting at the school pick-up curb.
I understand why you loved me even when I was sixteen and mean to you.
I understand why you stayed up into the wee hours until everyone was home safe at curfew.
I understand why you needed to start coloring your hair to hide the multiplying gray.
I understand why you once smashed up three packages of Birthday Cake Oreos in a cake pan, topped them with ice cream, and called it a homemade birthday cake.
I understand why you put over 360,000 miles on your first and second suburbans, and nearly 200,000 and counting on your third, because no distance is too far to be with your children.
I understand why you call to check that my doors are locked, that all candles are blown out, that I didn’t leave my stove on, that there’s gas in my car, or that I’m chewing my steak really well.
I understand why you have given me a AAA Membership in my Easter basket since I was licensed to drive.
I understand why you cry when hugging your children goodbye after a reunion comes to an end.
I understand why you were on the next plane each time I called you and told you how badly I was hurting.
I understand that being a stay-at-home mom is, in fact, a job; a challenging, round the clock, ever-changing job.
I understand the magnitude of beautiful, authentic, exhausting motherhood.
You see, I understand.
I understand what it takes to be a great mother, because you are a remarkable one.
I understand how lucky I am to call you my Momma.