I’m not a perfect mother. I know, I know. I was just as shocked to learn that as you are.
The truth is that I’m in great company because none of us are perfect mothers. We all have flaws, big or small or both. We all have ways in which we believe we could do better, even when the reality is that we’re doing our very best.
The trouble is that I often beat myself up for my imperfections. The times I yell too much or am too rash with my responses to their tiny questions eat away at me. How often have I let my annoyance at their insistence that everything be done their way or right that minute no matter what else is going on in the world shine through and am I doing it so often that eventually they’ll just give up trying to get my attention?
Am I shutting them down when I should be lifting them up? Do I listen to the small things they have to say often enough so that one day down the road they’ll want to tell me the big things?
Am I doing okay? This mothering thing? Am I doing it okay?
Those are the thoughts that nag me and lead me to wonder, nearly 6 years later, if I’m loving them enough. If I’m showing that love enough for them to know that no matter what kind of moment I’m having, my heart beats for them.
One day Emma snuggled into me and she said “I love you too, Mama.” I thought “how adorable is that!?!” Because it was adorable. She knows how to give and receive love and she freely shares her love with me. This is still how Emma tells me she loves me, but today I had a little revelation. That extra three letter word thrown into her proclamation suddenly meant just a little bit more.
She’s not saying “I love you.” She’s saying “I love you too.”
Does she know what she’s saying and how it’s not the normal order for swapping declarations of love? No, probably not, but somewhere in my heart, that little word “too” is soothing.
She knows I love her. She’s confident in that. She understands my love for her runs so deeply that I don’t even have to say “I love you” first for her to know it’s the truth.
Despite my faults, I’m doing this mothering thing okay.
I love her and she loves me too.