May 7, 2014

I Get it Now, Mom

I get that you didn't work a 9 to 5 job, because you were already working 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.

I get how even on really good days it was tiring to be the mom, the maid, the cook, the police officer, the doctor, the lawyer, the counselor, the chauffeur, the banker, the cheerleader, and the entertainer. 

I get that even though I only knew you as “Mom” back then, that you were also a wife, a sister, a daughter, a friend, a creative mind.

I get how when people asked you what you do during the day with "all of your time," that maybe you wanted to give them a nice, firm punch in the gut.

I get that there were times when you thought you might go crazy. Like when I was teething, and was terrible-awful all day long. I get how maybe you just wanted to scream out a bad word or two. 

I get that no matter how much you wished you could ignore my cries that you couldn't, because you couldn't feel okay until I did too.

I get that there were times when you just wanted a break. That all you wanted was to sleep in, or take a long hot shower, or take or nap, or have five minutes of complete silence, or even just go to the bathroom without me sitting on the floor staring at you.

I get how when I was growing up, nobody knew how to take care of me like you did.

I get how the late afternoon hours before Dad got home were some of the longest of the day.

I get that some days your only goal was to not smell like spit-up when Dad walked through the door. I get how seeing Dad help take care of me made you fall even more in love with him than you already were.

I get that sometimes it took all your strength just to make it to my bedtime. But I also get that when morning came, there was nothing more precious than coming to get me with my tousled hair, sleepy eyes, footie pajamas, and arms reaching out for you to pick me up.

I get that the only thing that competed with footie pajama snuggles was me freshly-bathed in just my diaper, with lots of rolly legs and tummy to kiss.

I get how “family vacation” actually meant that you didn't get to rest much at all. I get how sometimes you just wanted to eat an entire banana, candy bar, or ice cream cone without me giving you the “can I have some?” face. I get how sometimes you just wanted the house to stay picked up for ten minutes.

I get how some days it felt like you had to lose your life in order to give me mine.

I get how sometimes I caused you pain. Whether it was a hard tug on your earrings, or a firm pinch on the nose, or disobeying your instructions, or talking back, or complaining. 

I get that sometimes you wished I would just understand you were only trying to do what’s best for me.

I get how you could have taken the easy way out a lot of times - letting things slide or offering empty threats when I chose not to listen to you. I get how it took a lot of energy to be consistent and to train up a child in the way he should go.

I get how you did everything you could to protect me from pain, even if it meant hovering like a helicopter so I wouldn't nail my face on the coffee table…again. 

And I get how there was some pain in my life you couldn't protect me from, no matter how much you wanted to.

I get that with every milestone I reached – first smile, first time sitting up, first tooth, first time crawling, first word – you rejoiced and cheered for my accomplishment. 

And I get that maybe it made you a little sad too as you realized I was that much closer to being “all grown up.”

I get that sometimes you felt like what you were doing day in and day out wasn't that important. But I get that with every diaper change, every meal cooked, every set of clean clothes, every lullaby, every prayer, you were saying “I love you.”  

I get that even though the world may not have appreciated you spending all of your time to take care of me, that to me it meant the world.

I get how your most common prayer was that I would keep Christ in my heart, just like you taught me to for so many years.

I get that you not only sacrificed your body for nine months, but also your time and energy for eighteen years, and your heart for as long as you live.

I get that these were some of the longest days of your life, but some of the shortest years too.

I get how no matter how hard it was to be a mom early on, you wouldn't change a thing.

I get how before one of the worst things was to realize is that you were "turning into your mother," but I also get that now hearing someone say that would be one of the greatest compliments you could receive.

I get that now, when I have to say goodbye for a long time, you watch me walk away and a piece of your heart walks away with me. 

And I get why that makes you cry.

I get that being a mom just overwhelms you with every kind of emotion – joy, anger, excitement, sadness, frustration, happiness, fear, pride. 

I get that life as a mom is so rich.

I get how sometimes the wonder of being a mom took your breath away.

I get how much you love me.

I get it now, Mom.

I get it now, because now I'm a mom too.

I'm a mom experiencing the same circumstances, the same emotions, the same exhaustion, the same joys, the same pain, the same rich experience of motherhood.

And I get that being a mom has changed and has gone through a lot of fads over the years. But I also get that no matter how many years go by, so much about being a mom will never change.

And I know that for so long I didn't get it. 

I know that for so long I took all of your hard work - every monotonous task, every bit of encouragement, every sacrifice of yourself, everything that you did - I took for granted.

But not anymore.

Because I get it now, Mom.

I get all of this.

And I get that I still have so much to learn.

So, thank you. 

Thank you for patiently waiting for me to understand. 

I am eternally grateful. For everything.

And I love you too.

Happy Mother's Day,