There are times that my role in life feels just routine enough to be almost suffocating. I wake up each day and realize that I can do little right now to change course- I am going full speed on the train of motherhood and there is no stopping. I suppose many people can feel that their role in life is smothering, especially if they aren't living out a dream calling or career. Perhaps some feel trapped by their apparent inability to become or do what they want. But for me, it is the opposite. All I ever wanted was to be a mom- and here I have it- and I still have days when I think that coffee, not kids, is the real reason I get out of bed. And everyday I find I have moments where it is easy to love what I do, and perhaps as many when I feel as though what I do may be the undoing of my sanity.
Let's take the simple word "Mommy": When uttered by my sweet daughter before bed as she takes my face in her tiny, affectionate hands, I close out the rest of the day and the mess and the world and breathe in a moment of joy as a Mom. Likewise, as little as I enjoy any morning, when I lay in bed and hear my son repeat "Mommy....Mommy!" and then find him standing there with expectation and such sheer happiness to be picked up after a long night, their is nothing I'd really rather be doing.
But my son will also mournfully scream "Mommy...mommy!!!" when I lay him down for his nap later and refuse to give into sleep until minutes of this have passed. My daughter will stand at the gate at the top of our stairs only minutes after that gentle goodnight kiss and whine, "Mommy! Mooooooommmmmmy..." And if I dare to answer her I will be met with a list of demands or major crises: She does not have a drink, Luke is not listening or being nice, She needs a blanket, the music is too loud or too soft, she fears the music is ending (it rarely is), she has to go potty, I forgot to give her a doll or a book.
The kids yell "mommy!" when they are cranky and clingy and overtired, (which is usually when I am cranky, overtired, and the opposite of clingy), they yell it when Jeff watches them so I can go to the store or just use the restroom with the door closed, for the love of doughnuts. "Mommy" is not only that gentle, wonderful acknowledgement of who I am and the sweet reminder of why I love what I do, it's the whiny anthem when my kids won't share, when they don't want to pick up their toys, when they are impatiently waiting for me to do something, when they are exhausted and needy, when the car ride is just a liiiitle too long.
So the little word that I waited so long for my kids to speak reveals something about our relationship: they trust me with "Mommy" when they are showering me with affection and proudly showing me their accomplishments, but they also trust me to accept and love them at their most vulnerable- either way, they just want me to actively be there. But it is tough to always "actively be there" especially when you throw into the mix daily trying to put three semi-balanced meals on the table for picky eaters, get housework done, accomplish morning routines, bedtime routines. (Crud, that reminds me I don't think we brushed teeth before bed tonight.)
Motherhood is anything but routine, but it is easy to feel that each day mimics the last and that I am never really off-duty- that tomorrow will be just a variation on today and that I'm not sure I will have recharged long enough to embrace each new call on my name with grace and love. But I am reminded by great friends that raising children is such an important job. And I have to trust that God can both help and use me even when I'm not feeling brave enough for the task at hand.
And even though I complain, believe me when I say I'll never get tired of being called "mom".