Dear Mom. I Get it Now…

In honor of my Momma’s birthday and her steadfast love.

I get it now.

I understand why you never had new clothes or pretty jewels. It makes sense that you didn’t have a fancy car or a passport full of stamps. I know why romantic trips with Dad rarely happened.

The homecoming dresses and sports lessons and youth trips and birthday parties and school clothes and winter jackets.

There wasn’t a nickel left to call your own.

I know why I may not have all the nice things. And I’m okay with that because you always were.

I learned sacrifice is easier when it means your kid looks for you when he shoots a basket. Did you see that, mom? I want you to see what I did.

When I wipe down the top of my refrigerator or remove table-top knick knacks to dust, I may still bemoan my existence. I may still hate cleaning above all other things. But now I know why you taught me to bleach a toilet and mop a floor early in my years.

Taking pride and care in my home comes with cleaning the messy and scrubbing the dirt. The drudgery has purpose and the effort has meaning—this care and keeping of the place our babies sleep.

Comet will always be my friend.

I get why you didn’t share your fears. You didn’t want them to be mine.

When Ella was just three and inhaled the scent of a well-loved book, I knew. When Caleb chose the library for our afternoon date, I knew.

I knew the reason you said that while there might be days I’m alone, I will never be lonely if I love to read. I understand why you carried bags of exhaustion and stories out from the library.

The love of knowledge is now my constant companion and teaching my own Ella and Caleb is my lofty goal.

I would get so angry. So mad for every.single.thing you made me rework or revise. My temper welled, as I removed a stitch or rewrote essays filled with mistakes.

Even now when I want to avoid striking a word or phrase from the thoughts I write and just hit submit. When revision is tiresome and tedious. When I just don’t want to give any more effort. Your words stand firm.

Any thing worth doing is worth doing right.

I use your words with my own two babes. Because excellence is worth the work and correction is a gift.

All the no’s despite my tantrums, my rants, my raves. All the firm boundaries I pressed against with sheer force of will. All the ways you kept the reigns tight. They protected me from myself—from the parts of me I didn’t yet know were there.

Those boundaries taught me I don’t always know what’s best, and I’m never entitled to my own way. Because life isn’t fair and the world doesn’t revolve around me.

There were battles I wanted you to fight in my stead. Wars I wanted you to win. Hard steps I wanted you to take for me. But instead?

You watched as I struggled and clashed. Why couldn’t you have just done the hard for me? Why couldn’t you save me from the bruising and scars?

I get it now.

And I’m grateful.

For while you didn’t fight my battles, you never left my side. You dressed me in armor even if you didn’t raise the sword. There are battles that we must fight on our own so we can be our most courageous selves—to be our best selves.

You knew that when I didn’t.

Now, I stand by my own two treasures handing them helmets and Truth. I never want to cripple them because they don’t know how to fight.

I get it now. The standing by? It yanks your heart out and beats it bloody on the muddy ground.

And sometimes the strongest, bravest step you can take is to just stand by.

Because strength is what we want to raise.

I get it now.

Strong is the only way to mother.

Strong is rising in the tender hours just before dawn to kneel down before the One who loves your children more than you ever could. It is praying the promises of scripture over the heads of the babes you bore. Strong is trusting in the plans Jesus has for your children and not in your own.

Strong is knowing you can’t mother alone. Strong is knowing we are weak.

Strong is acts of selflessness. Standing firm and standing by. Teaching and preaching even as exhaustion drips into your veins. Never giving up on the lives you birthed—even when they may bite with words that chew on pieces of your soul.

Strong is grace. It’s tenderness and compassion when the whining never ends. Knowing when to let go because your child refuses to learn from your mistakes. Unconditional love when it isn’t returned.

And never having a new pair of shoes.

Strong is the only way to mother.

I get it now.

Because strength mothered me, and I learned to mother from her.

My mom is a definition of strong.

I will learn from her the rest of my days.

Her children arise and call her blessed.
Proverbs 31:28

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4 Responses to Dear Mom. I Get it Now…

  1. Mom says:

    My heart is full, and my eyes are overflowing! Always know I love being a mother and now a grandmother! Thank you my precious child!

  2. Meg Punt says:

    I love this tribute to your mom. It speaks of the wisdom needed when raising our children and celebrates the challenge, especially the challenge of not doing. Something we often forget. Thanks for revising editing and getting it just right.

  3. Lynn Howell says:

    This is my favorite post of yours.

  4. What an amazing tribute to your mom! A good mom is the best blessing ever, and I’m happy you are not only so blessed, but you know it. No doubt in my mind you are an amazing mom yourself. 🙂