When Joshua was a baby, I was never more comfortable and confident than when my mom was with me. She had done this, so I could do this too. Even though I had no real idea what this was.
This Motherhood thing was confusing. Challenging in ways I didn’t expect.
I knew it was feeding, burping, changing, bathing, rocking. I knew there would be crying. I had no idea about the emotional tasks involved or that so many of the tears would be my own.
I didn’t know my capacity for loving tremendously, worrying regularly. Hoping beyond hope that I wouldn’t screw it up. So far, I think I’m doing okay, but the emotional labor of mothering is still daunting. It always will be.
When you love these little creatures so fiercely, it’s hard not to feel that weight. It’s the most important job I’ve ever had. I don’t want to get it wrong.
And yet, I know I will. I know I have before. There are times and situations when I look back and think, “Oh, I should’ve done that instead…” but the best I can do at that point is apologize and move forward, always looking to the next time I’m faced with a motherhood challenge.
I can rest in the easier moments, but there’s always the hope that when my kids need me, I’ll be able to rise to the occasion like my mom has always done for me.
The end of February was devastating, but I couldn’t crumble. Too many people needed me to be strong. So I did what I do in times of need.
I got super focused on the task at hand and I leaned on my mom.
She didn’t do anything magical to help. She didn’t help brainstorm ways to solve the problem I was facing. She didn’t offer up words of wisdom or platitudes. She couldn’t fix this. She didn’t have to.
She opened her door and welcomed me into her home. She gave me a soft place to land. She listened. She gave me space.
She made me cheese grits.
She shared her strength, and in doing so showed me where the power of mothering rests.
It’s not in the big moments. It’s not in the grand gestures. It’s in the little things. Anticipating needs and meeting them. It’s in being present and being a presence. It’s not about fixing things for our children. It’s about showing them that they have the skills necessary to fix things for themselves and standing by at the ready to watch while they do it.
Love is a bowl of cheese grits, y’all.
Love is lending our strength to our children when they don’t feel strong enough themselves. That’s what my mom’s presence did for me when Joshua was a baby, and that’s what it did for me last week. That’s what it’s always done for me.
Thanks, Mama. For the cheese grits and the love.