As a mother I know I love my kids. I feel it so deeply that there are no words to express this. It is unconditional, unwavering love. When they were babies and toddlers it was easy to get frustrated, but it was easy to feel their love for me. Babies and toddlers love their mamas hard.
My kids are older now. Three of my girls are in either high school or junior high. As many of my friends can attest to – these are not necessarily the good years for moms with pre-teen/teen daughters.
Let me illustrate:
They don’t want to hug you. There are no more kisses (they lean in so you can kiss their forehead – but not often). And very often you don’t get hugged back. They might tell you about their bad day at school or they might just sulk in their bedroom. They cry, they scream, they think you have no idea what they are going through. But we do, don’t we moms? We know. And we cry at night sometimes because we can’t make everything all better. We are terrified to let our daughters make the same mistakes we did, even though this path is inevitable and … some might say healthy. We go into their bedrooms and watch them sleep, stroke their foreheads, and thank the Universe for the honor to raise them.
What a responsibility it is. Raising kids. I was never afraid of messing it up. Which I find strange given the fact that I was such a young mother to start. I think that babyhood is easy for me. Babies have needs, I meet their needs, we go to bed, and it all starts over the next day. Things really are simpler when they are young. Toddlers are trickier, but also a little more rewarding. Today I am afraid of messing it up.
I remember older folks smiling at me in the supermarket. They would say things like “Enjoy them now while they are little, because it’s a lot harder when they get older.” I seriously had issues with this advice. Picture this: I was 22 years old with 3 daughters under the age of 4. It was hard. I was tired. Somewhere along the line I heard the phrase “live in the moment” and that was much more helpful.
Today something wonderful happened to me. I had some mid-day texting from my almost-thirteen-year-old daughter, M. I felt this warm sensation wave through me. My eyes filled with tears. I felt my heart beating a little quicker. I felt loved back. It wasn’t anything particular she said in her text. Nothing was special. And I started remembering last night and the band concert I went to for L. She’s in the sixth grade and plays the guitar. Out of the blue, on the way to the school, she tells me, “You’re a good mom.” I smiled and thanked her.
Right now I am sitting at the kitchen table with tears of joy streaming down my face. Who knows if I am messing it up or not? All I know is that I felt much love these past few days I am crying, oozing my emotions out. And it feels good. It feels right. In this moment.