I often look at my kids and still feel a little shocked that they each came from me, these sweet, stubborn, quirky offspring, complete little people in their own right. I love them fiercely, and they drive me crazy. They each make my life richer than I ever imagined, and even though I sometimes secretly confess to myself that I might be a better mother to fewer kids, I can’t imagine my life, or our family, without every single one of them. The day-to-day grind wears me down sometimes, and yet, I often feel a desperation to hang onto now, because it really does go by in a flash. I can remember each of their infanthoods so clearly that it feels like something tangible I can almost – but not quite – grab hold of with my hands. They’re growing up by leaps and bounds, and sometimes it breaks my heart.
I’m not sure where this urge to reproduce, to mother, came from for me. My own mother certainly never made parenting look like an appealing endeavor. I think for the longest time, I just wanted this wellspring of love inside me to be tapped. I wanted to be allowed to love somebody without reservation, and yes, selfishly, to be loved back in the same manner – something I never experienced until I became a mother. And so, after a long, painful road, Kevin was born, and for the first time I began to experience a love that often leaves a physical ache in the center of me.
I wake up every day wanting to be a better mother to my kids than I was the day before, and every day I fail to be the mother I want to be, the mother I think my kids deserve: patient, calm, selfless, and wise. It’s a fool’s game to keep setting standards I know I can’t live up to. I know I’m not the worst mother out there, but far from the best either. And yet, no matter how much I feel I fail, no matter how unqualified I often feel, my kids keep on loving this mom they got stuck with.
This morning there was a pile of cards – most of them homemade – on the table for me, as well as gifts. Most notable:
This from Joey –
These from Michael –
This photo doesn’t do it justice. It’s a photo of the kids taken about a year and a half ago (one we used for our 2009 holiday card), printed on an 8″ X 10″ sheet of tin – yes, tin! It’s very cool, I love it!
Not the most flattering picture of me, and yes, it’s a little weird to have a poster-size closeup of my face hanging on the living room wall, but this photo is very dear to me, embodying all the love I discovered for this baby I never expected to have.
Anyway, it was a nice Mother’s Day.
Capped off by another trip to the ER, the details of which I will save for tomorrow.