For you, Mother

This morning, I visited my daughter’s classroom for the class Fairytale Showcase. When I arrived, she jumped up to hug me and said over and over ‘Thank you so much for coming, Mom. Thank you, thank you so much.’ Precious. A bit overly effusive, but precious nonetheless.

Then she said ‘I can’t believe you came.’ 
What?! I don’t think I heard you correctly, child of my womb, child to whom I read stories and sing Julie Andrews songs to at night.   
You can’t believe I came? 
May I interject here, that once, that is one time, I was unable to attend an optional sledding field trip. It was due to the fact that I was attending a mandatory meeting with her brother’s teacher the same day. And she won’t let me forget it. 
In my mind, I was putting the requirement before the optional, the must-do before the want-to. In her mind, I was not showing up, and a full year later, she continues to question my commitment to her. I prove my commitment every day in a hundred different ways, and yet she still wonders, will Mom show up? 
My heart did this funny little flip flop because it hurt to hear her say those words, to question me and my intentions. Then I started to feel a bit indignant and maybe even angry. I wanted to give her a quick run down of all the ways I show up. But I didn’t because she’s six and I’ve got thirty years of perspective and a mother’s bruised heart on her. It’s also possible I may have been influenced by the other mothers listening in on our conversation. 
We all know the saying: Motherhood is not for the faint of heart. But in some ways I think it is. Mothering is for those willing to have a faint heart. Those willing to let their hearts walk around outside of their chest where it is flayed open and its every weakness exposed. It is for those who continue to keep their hearts soft, pliable, and willingly wounded.  
I’m thinking of you today, Mother. You and your faint heart, the one with scars that tell a story that is less Cinderella and more Full Metal Jacket. It’s a battle, and you put your heart right out there in the middle of it every time you show up. So the next time one of your troops goes rogue or aims an arrow straight at your heart, know that I’m there in the thick of it with you, showing up, ready to trade secrets and scars. 

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