I am thrilled to introduce one of my best friends to you. Carla and I met during our Bible College days and we have stayed friends through the thick and thin. It has been a privilege and blessing to have Carla's voice and friendship in my life. The way she mothers her daughters is inspiring and tenacious and beautiful.
In thinking on how exactly to write on this topic, it was a little tempting to come up with something like other thoughts on motherhood I've read before. Those things we all experience as new parents; sleeplessness, runny kid noses, dirty diapers, tantrums at the grocery store (generally the child, although perhaps occasionally the parent), living way too many hours in sweatpants, etc. Yet, we all say, there is nothing better in the whole world!
As much as that is true, motherhood for me tapped into a whole different level of life and mental and emotional soul-depth than I ever imagined existed, pre-motherhood. What does it mean to me? Three words have been the most meaningful.
Courage. Courage to trust my body to give birth on its own, and to push life into the world. To do it more than once. Courage to love without always getting loved right back. Courage to dig deep into my soul and let go of hard things so that those hard things would not stay in our family and twist their destructive selves around the hearts of my children. Courage to do the right thing, even if its the hardest thing.
Presentness. Motherhood has taught me to slow down. To enjoy the moment. To enjoy the twinkles in my daughter's eyes as she tells me a story, rather than just the story itself. To let my first answer be "yes" when asked, "Mommy, do you want to do _______ with me?" rather than thinking of reasons why I need to accomplish my task first. To enjoy cuddles with a wide eyed, yet peaceful little snuggler who got up in the night, rather than thinking about how much sleep I'm missing. To have tea parties, make outlandish yet exhilarating crafts thought up by a child on the spur of the moment, and drop everything and dance with my little people to the goofy song that just happens to come on. To listen to the same song twelve times over, and relish the enjoyment that results each time. (That would be the Mickey Mouse clubhouse theme song which some other kind-hearted parent of the world put on YouTube several times in a row just for children like mine.) Enjoying the moment, one moment at a time.
Trust. To believe that motherhood is hard. That I cannot do it on my own. I cannot protect my children from every hard person and every hard circumstance. I cannot make choices for my children. I cannot teach them all that is good without them also picking up on my own bad habits. I've learned to rely on a trust that God, the Creator of parents and children and families alike, is the sole bearer of all wisdom and knowledge. Without constantly going to Him to inform my parenting, I can easily fall into wrong choices and wrong attitudes. Oh, so easily.
Motherhood has taught me the power of letting go, and of letting God use motherhood to stretch me into someone a little stronger and deeper and wiser. Someone more ready to face hard things with courage. Someone ready to be present. Ready to leave the long term results of my motherly efforts in Someone Else's hands. Someone Else who is the best and wisest parent of all.
Carla is a mom blessed with two daughters, ages 3 and 1. As well as growing in mind and spirit, she also has a growing belly with a new little son on the way. She is married to a fantastic husband, loves teaching her piano students, writing songs in her oh-so-(not so)-plentiful spare time, and preparing music for her church family's services.