Hello. Sorry for disappearing on you like that.
I know you’ve been lying awake at night, wondering about this last secret. Fear not! I am back. And here it is.
Secret #31: We don’t love every minute.
Oh, little ones, you are indeed our pride and joy, the apples of our eyes and all those other things we proud parents say. You are God’s gift to our stubborn, longing hearts and we love you. With every ounce of our being, we love you.
There are people who imply that is all there is to motherhood – this never-ending, always-growing love. “Enjoy every minute! It goes by so fast,” they say. And we know this is true. We know that parenting small children is the cliche “the days are long but the years are short” come to life.
The days are indeed long. Some longer than others. And the years are oh so short. How is it my baby boys are turning four in just four days?! There is truth in what these kind, well meaning people say – these mothers whose children have grown and now have children of their own, these strangers who have seen babies become adults in the blink of an eye.
They are right. But they are also wrong.
Why? Because we cannot, we will not enjoy every minute. What they are asking of us is a physical, emotional, logistical impossibility.
Here is the truth: We don’t love every minute of mothering, but we mostly love most of them most of the time.
You are glorious human beings. We cannot wrap our mama minds around the fact that you are ours to raise, ours to love, ours to hang out with for eighteen beautiful years and beyond. But, like your mama, you are not always the easiest to love. Sometimes loving you is hard because you’re learning and so are we. Sometimes caring for you is exhausting because you are so small and new and there is so much your sweet heart and mind and body have yet to understand. AND THIS IS OKAY.
Do you hear that? It is okay that we are not perfect at this whole mama/kid thing. This is the way it is supposed to be.
I am supposed to get some of this wrong. I am supposed to mess up and mess you up a little. And you, you are just a kid. You are innocent and not-so-innocent all at once. You are learning to grow and I am learning to let you, you are become who you were made to be and I am learning to guide you. And sometimes we are like bumper cars at the fair, ramming into each other over and over, sometimes with laughter and often with tears, because that’s just what happens when you put a bunch of people in a house together and call them a family.
So loving every minute? It just isn’t gonna happen, kiddo. Not for me, not for you. I’m going to make you so mad sometimes that your cheeks burn hot, and you are going to say things to me you do not mean. You are going to frustrate the heck outta me, too. There will be some very, very hard minutes, and some days we both feel like giving up.
But. I love you madly. Literally. My love for you makes me a crazy person. That’s the way it’s supposed to be.
We are mad and crazy in love together, and it’s beautiful in the way a Wes Anderson movie is beautiful. It’s quirky, a little “off”, but it’s colorful and interesting and somehow all the weird angles and emotions come together to make something truly wonderful. Something no one has ever made before and something no one will ever make again, that is you and me.
And one more thing.
We don’t literally love every minute, but one day we will say we did. And we’ll be telling the truth, just like those strangers who tell us it goes by so fast.
We will say we this because the unlovable minutes will eventually be covered over and washed away by joy spilling over from the rest. Raising you is like a riptide; it jumbles everything up, makes all of life a lovely ocean-blue blur. We won’t remember every moment but we’ll cherish the ones we get to keep, the blissful and the hard. We’ll collect them and store them in boxes like chipped seashells from a glittery shore.
There is so much joy in living this life with you. I hope I spend mine telling you all about it.
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