Life Long Love

Ah, Motherhood. What can I say that hasn’t already been said? To quote Dickens, “it was the best of times, it was the worst of times”. You may think that an odd comparison, unless you are a mother. If you are a mother, it resonates deep in your soul.

Two of the best days of my life were when I held my daughters in my arms for the first time; miniature versions of me. I carried them and had eventful deliveries with both of them, but it is true that any pain melts away as your heart melts in a way it never has before. I encountered a love like none I had ever known.

Over the years, I experienced many “best days”; their first smile, their first steps, many “I love you’s”, the proud moments at school and church, baptisms, graduations, weddings and one of the VERY best, when I was handed each of my two granddaughters.

There were also the bad days. To put it simply, when they hurt, I hurt. Whether it was a bully at school, an illness or injury they suffered with, a break-up that left them broken or just general feelings of insecurity or pain. If you are a mom worthy of the title, I guarantee you, you would rather feel the pain yourself. Every. Single. Time. Other than Jesus, you are their greatest advocate, their biggest fan and you FEEL deep where they are concerned.

One of the biggest misconceptions is that somehow when they turn 18, when their teen years have possibly left your head spinning, that your job is done, that any percentage of the head and heart stuff will cease. Truly, you may no longer operate a charity-based uber service, your laundry loads will decrease, your kitchen won’t feel like grand central station and your nights won’t be filled with games and homework (but oh, how you will miss all this!). Physically though, you will finally have rest. You can sleep in. You can have uninterrupted coffee and many other things.

But, if you think for one moment that this somehow equates with mental rest……if you think that your mind somehow blissfully morphs into a peaceful state that has no cause for fear or concern; that you won’t still feel their pain, wonder about their future, cringe at some of their choices and stay up praying some nights, you have it all wrong.

This thing they call Motherhood, it’s for life. It’s not an easy calling and it certainly isn’t for the faint at heart. You will wring out every drop of yourself to make their lives better and there will be times they don’t seem to appreciate it. (Okay, I know some of you have perfect children, but most of us don’t). I am still a middle aged mom, so I don’t know it all yet, but in speaking with older mom’s, I am assured nothing ever changes. Your desire to hold them, help them and protect them will never be diminished.

Ultimately, you have to let go. You will not have as much say in their choices or the roads they chose to take. This will bother you and if you are smart, you will learn when to offer advice or opinion and when to simply smile and swallow it. They may parent differently than you did, and in some ways this might be a good thing.

There are days when I see myself in them, maybe only a glimpse but it is somehow comforting. This grown creature really is mine and there are still similarities. I hope when they see me in them, it brings them comfort too.

I lost my mom when I was 30 years old and I continue to feel that loss. Mostly, I miss her unconditional love, her undying support, her love-filled advice and being able to share everything with her. Thankfully, over the years, I’ve had friends, aunts and a mother-in-law who have helped tremendously in filling the gaping hole that her death left in my heart. I know how much my mother loved me and that gives me comfort.

There is NOTHING my girls could do that would take away my love for them. We may disagree, but I love them through everything, the good and the bad. They know this without a shadow of a doubt. That my friends, is one of the most important roles of a mother.

I would be remiss if I didn’t thank the Lord, my God for my beautiful girls and for His constant love and strength, continually helping me to be the best mother I can be. I have failed and will continue to, but He forgives me and helps me to forgive myself and learn from my mistakes.

There is no perfect mother, although mine was awfully close. If we do the best we can with what we know, and strive to know more and do better, we will have done well.

Blessings and Peace,

HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY!

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of light, it was the season of darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair.”

Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities

My heart

Ashley and Morgan; then and now

Ashley and Morgan; then and now

Chubby little hands, wet with slobber, getting caught in my hair

Up half the night rocking you with a prayer until the fever subsided

Chasing remnants of applesauce around your tiny lips with a tiny spoon

The spoon, now airborne and not because I’m pretending it’s a plane

Bath time;  soggy toys, towels and floors until you were like ten

Drying a wiggle worm until the towel drops and you run away giggling

Treating Boo boos with kisses and rug rat bandages and Neosporin

Riding bicycles and scooters and go karts and four-wheelers

Going to Little league, Church camp, school plays and sleepovers

Checking out library books and Disney movies and The Nutcracker

Reminding daily about baths and brushing teeth and hair

Blond hair whipping in the wind as we caught our share of fish

Driving cars and blasting music and growing up too fast

Never-ending showers that leave the rest of us mad and cold

Little Miss Know It All who doesn’t really have a clue

Late nights, some fights, long talks and lots of prayers

High school, sports, dances and dates

Increasing beauty, decreasing days before graduation and then…..

Empty nest, quiet house, too much time on our hands

Phone calls, holiday visits and lots of texts

Agree to disagree, offer advice but realize my limits

Heart breaks when you feel pain or struggle

Loving you long distance, looking forward to your next visit

Missing you, lots of reminiscing, tears and prayers

Missing my girls

The girls when they were young

The girls when they were young

As the holidays loom ever closer, I find myself reminiscing about the simple things I miss.  Being an empty nester for almost a year now hasn’t been as bad as I feared.  Dad and I have had more time for each other and it’s been peaceful and quiet.

But sometimes a mama just has one of those days.

Today, I miss one hand in mine, while your dad held the other as we propelled you over a puddle or a crack or just for the thrill of hearing you giggle.  You would always plea, “do it again”, until our arms were worn out.  I miss tiny feet coming down the hall with sleepy eyes that beckoned me to pick you up and hold you for a while until you were fully awake.

I miss play-doh, yes, even play-doh and playdates and parks; climbing up the slide with you in my arms and sliding down while holding on to you for dear life.

The dinner table is much quieter now and there are never any spills or anyone scrunching their nose up at my choice of veggies.  It only takes a minute to clean up afterwards and there is no one volunteering to help.   Oh wait; there wasn’t when you were here either!

I miss the wide, trusting eyes that believed everything I told them and somehow instinctively knew I had their best interest at heart.

Oh yes, I even miss the makeup encrusted counters, because they remind me of “getting ready” with you to go on one of our outings.  I miss a house full of friends, being your taxi and proudly watching you play all your sports.  Today, I even miss the smelly tripled amounts of laundry.

I miss the way I rarely had to drag you to church because you always wanted to go.  I miss your excitement over mission trips and the way you told stories of the life changing experiences you had upon your return from them.

I am sure I’ll have other days like this, because I have so many wonderful memories with you.  You were a pleasure to raise (most of the time).  Don’t get so teary and filled with sympathy that you think this means you have to return for good, but a visit in the near future would be nice!

Make sure that you enjoy the “simple” things, as those are the ones you will remember with such fondness.

Love,

Mom

Mitch Teemley

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