The thing about motherhood, there aren’t always any “right” answers. Sometimes, that is a positive, encouraging women to find their own “right” for themselves and their families. For those math and analytical minded folks who dream of an equation yielding an exact perfect answer, this can be particularly challenging. The old saying that which does not kill us makes us stronger is true. Motherhood makes us so strong. Mothers are the first to have the opportunity to remind us that we can do anything we set our minds to. The quote “babies don’t come with instruction manuals, they come with moms”, was stitched on a zippered pouch. When my boys came into the world, my knowledge of raising tiny humans could not fill that zippered pouch. Now, 16 years deep, my experiences could fill the store. Potty training was SO HARD. Finally realizing the child had to want it for himself was the key to success. Pretty sure that same theory reigns today. Step one encouragement and empowerment, step two solo flight, step two in collaboration with step three being there when success isn’t instant or at all.
Years ago, one of my boys had a horrible cough that we couldn't kick with any allergy or asthma doctor or medication. GI doctor turned to us, the parents, and said, "Its completely up to you. You will need to find the balance." Well, no pressure there. He empowered and encouraged us to use our best judgement and do what was best for our child. Aren't we always happier, more peaceful, when we figure out what works for us as women, and us as a family? Finding our path, our way to do this thing called life. When we are confident ourselves in our abilities, when navigating a new playground and arena, our children feel our confidence, and we embody security. Grab that new mom next to you and offer to listen. Remind her that she has got this!
Because Mom is a title, an unpaid job which is constantly evolving. There is no finish line. The goal is to raise emotionally stable and functioning members of society, but we are always someone's child. It’s hard to articulate what the feeling of belonging - of being a daughter feels like. My mother, with her southern isms, meticulous manners - “if you can’t say thank you, then you do not need to have it” and genteel ways make you want to sit and listen, unless you have the regrettable decision of crossing one of her children. Then my sweet little Momma turns into a lion, a force ready for battle. She was a caretaker in the beginning when my survival was literally thrust into her arms. A warrior in the teenage years trying to reign in this princess know it all. A friend in college. A mentor and friend in adult and motherhood. She is quite simply the air, always there, always in for a kind word, looking out for me. No matter how messy life gets, she is there, ending every conversation with, “anything I can do for you?” Thing is, she is this way to all those around her, never wanting a thing in return. My air and my angel; I am thankful for her!
Ever since my brother and I were grown and flown, Mom’s greatest wish is for us all to be back together on her birthday. "I don't care when it happens, I just want us all to be together." Momma calls, and we listen. We recently celebrated her 73rdbirthday all together, and we celebrated Mom finding a new path after losing my Dad. Suddenly, the roles are reversed, and it is ourturn to empower herto feel confident to tackle the many things he always handled. To avoid looking at his empty seat at the dining room table, we set up card tables with tablecloths on the deck with candles and timed dinner with the sunset. As the birthday dinner conversation wanders, I hear myself saying to my oldest, "don't you feel empowered now that you know how to do that?" pointing out a challenge he has overcome.
His response was very 16, "I never doubted that I could. What do you mean empowered?"
My sister in law's take on the comment, "Wow, maybe because he is a guy he never has needed reminding,". Me, I like to think we have instilled an inner confidence. But, goodness all gracious, her comment did give me pause. Ladies, we are amazing, creative folks who were perfectly created in His image! We were made to climb mountains and discover the cure for cancer and be whoever we aim to be! Caring and loving and being vulnerable does not equal weakness. Run that race, even if it’s a bit slower making sure your friend is there by your side. That reward will be twice as sweet. Be strong, protect the ones you love, and spread those wings! You got this. Fly!
By Grace Lanier