Isn’t it curious how an entire decade can pass, with so many memories and emotions, and when looking back, it is hard to find words to describe those years. Maybe it’s just me. (After all, I did get a D once on an English paper, because I just couldn’t express myself. After a revision, I managed a B…in other words, other boggers do a far better job putting words to emotions and memories. Oh well, this is my imperfect space and rambling.)
As I was saying, a decade has passed. Ten years. Thousands of days.
Ten years since I felt the first pains of labor for the first time. Ten years since I felt my body couldn’t hurt worse (it could), and since I first felt the fear of possibly not being able to give birth. Ten years since that overwhelming exhaustion, utter physical exertion, and pushing with every ounce of my being. Ten years since I felt life leave me, and love fill me to overflowing. Ten years since my daughter was born and I became a mother.
That decade hasn’t made me an expert. Far from it. I have learned how little I know. Many days I feel as if I am twelve steps behind (I can’t make the Wii work, for on thing) and I am sprinting uphill to catch up. Sure, I try to be prepared, and put on the “no questions will shock or embarrass me” face…but inside, I am shaking in my boots, stomach churning, praying to God that He’ll give me all the graces because no way can I figure this out or do it on my own.
In ten years, I have learned about fear and anxiety, while sitting in the ER for a second time in seven days, no idea what ails my child. I have learned about sacrifice, for nine months gestation, while breastfeeding, when waking many times a night for years, when cleaning up after tummy bugs, when giving up a date because my darling was sick and only wanted me. I have learned patience, oh so much patience.
Motherhood has taught me so much more than the hard lessons. I have learned how love just grows and grows. How a simple smile from your child can change the day. How to laugh at the silly little things. I have learned curiosity from my children, how to see the beauty in dandelions picked in love, and what fun it can be to have a picnic on the floor while watching a movie.
Being a mother has taught me how to serve, how to give without expecting a return, and that there is great joy in serving. I have learned to see Jesus in my children, and to try harder each day to serve them as if God Himself was in my midst (because He is, and I have a lot of work to do to serve and love better).
I have learned to take care of bloody noses without cringing outwardly, to soothe sick children day and night, to comfort after nightmares, to make it through a day after just a few hours of interrupted sleep.
I have learned to pause. To listen more and lecture less. To hug often and laugh freely.
I have learned to step back and learn from my children–to snuggle longer, to read more, to learn who are the good guys and the bad guys in Star Wars, to enjoy silly movies like The Lego Movie.
Ten years of motherhood have come and gone, left their mark in stretch marks, sagging breasts (but I nourished babies with this body!), graying hair, and tear-streaked cheeks. I look in the mirror and don’t feel old enough to be this “old” mother, and often don’t feel qualified enough, either.
By the grace of God, though, I don’t have to have a sparkling resume. I have only to trust Him. Sometimes I feel crippled by the task before me, but I beg Him for the graces and they come. The love of God fills me and his grace strenghtens me.
Ten years of being a mother, and I have learned love. I have learned to pray. I have learned faith. I have learned trust, trust in The One who called me to the task, and who strengthens me to do the work.
Ten years from now, I can only imagine how much more I will have learned, loved, cried, feared, prayed, laughed, and trusted. Ten years from now, I hope I’ll still feel young, trust God even more, and love even more deeply. Please, God, may the next ten years be filled with love.