Sunday, May 13, 2012
A Priceless Mum
I've been trying to remember if this is the first Mother's Day I've spent away from home. I don't really think it is . . . seems to me there might have been a choir tour or two that extended over Mother's Day. Either way, this one feels a little different. I'm not a mom yet, but nanny-ing Achoo five days out of the week has given a whole new clarity to what motherhood is like - what motherhood means. Being the confident firstborn I am, I've spent most of my life thinking I had a good idea of what mommy-hood was going to involve. (Those of you who are moms, feel free to laugh any time.) My first week with Achoo de-bunked most of them. Needless I called my mum a lot - more often than not the subject of my call can be simply summed up in five simple words: "Mum, WHAT DO I DO?!" I'm beginning to understand a lot of the why's behind what mum has spent her whole life training us for - that it really does take less time to keep a space clean if one just puts things away when they are done with them; that training early - from day one - makes a huge difference; that if a child wins one battle, the parents are going to have to fight extra hard to win the next five.
I'm pretty sure that there have been more than one moment in the last four weeks when my mum could have said, "I told you so," but being her gracious, loving self she doesn't. (Thanks mum.) She has walked me through really tough days (read: two-baths-in-one-day-because-the-baby-threw-up-on-the-carpet), laughed with me on the good days (when Achoo 'discovered' the brilliant combination of a mixing bowl and a wooden spoon), and talked me through the long days (lethal combination of discouragement and no nap). And no matter what is happening on this end of the world, she knows just what to say.
In one of her e-mails she told me, ". . . being a mom is all about flexibility! The child is what matters........you know the part about putting YOUR life on hold for the next 20 years. You are getting a little glimpse of that. When babies are sick they need to be comforted. They need training every single minute when they are this age so that as they get older your job is easier. . . . When one is a mom, there is NO time for extra stuff unless it is during nap time and that can be short sometimes. Why do you think I made everyone nap for so many years. It was the ONLY time I had by myself. Please understand that I am in no way complaining! That is what I wanted for my life.......but being the selfish person that I am, I wanted MY time and it was hard at times not to get it. Looking back, I am grateful we didn't have internet etc because I might have been more resentful. In hindsight, I am not resentful at all. The time I spend with all of you was worth more than any time I spent doing anything else. That includes sleeping or eating. :)" (As well as a few other things . . .)
Being away from home for such a long time has put into sharp focus just how blessed I am to be part of my family - and just how much I take it for granted. Nanny-ing Achoo also clarifies how much my mum sacrificed to raise her children, and how I've taken that for granted as well. To a fuller extent I am able to value her wisdom, because even though I'm still not a mom, I am temporarily walking the same path. God has given her so much strength and grace, and I'm grateful she is still willing to share it with me. I'm grateful she is still (sometimes stubbornly) intent on being my mom as well as my friend, even though I'm over 21. We're both still learning - but with every Mother's Day we celebrate, I'm that much more grateful for my mum and the grace and encouragement she's given me.
Happy Mother's Day, mum. Hugs - and maybe a cake - to follow. :)