I think back on bygone Mother's Days and see that I wanted some sense of recognition or acknowledgement or credit equal to the degree of which I think I "sacrifice" for the hubster and kiddos on a daily basis. There's got to be a term to use that encompasses that idea. Hmm, let me see, umm...how about "martyr"? Yeah, that'll work.
And at least in a way, a martyr I am. Now stay with me here.
One of the definitions of martyr is, "a person who sacrifices something of great value and especially life itself for the sake of principle". Let me tell you, if I thought it took great sacrifice when we were parenting one of the Us-es, I die daily to some part of me when you factor in all three; some hobby, some conversation, some thought process, some personal development, some self-awareness, some solitude, some spirituality, some spontaneity, some personal hygiene. Yeah, sacrifice is there. But coupled with it...no, the seed from which any of these sacrifices grow...is the principle(s) beneath it.
I don't have a personal mission statement for my life of parenting, but these are the principles that would have to be considered if one were ever developed:
-These kids were given to me, to us, to raise up. And though there is a tremendous amount of truth in needing a village to raise a child, they are our responsibility...and our reward.
-I have the awesome and weighty privilege of knowing these little people from their earliest existence. If I will allow myself to observe them, to assume very little about them, but rather to learn them, there will be no one better equipped to guide them in this life than me (and Ma Luffin' Mayun); to teach them when and how to stand and to bend, with the goal really being to teach them to know when and how on their own.
-I see them as on-loan. I don't mean that to sound detached or morbid or any kind of negative. I just simply believe that these little people are given to Ma Luffin' Mayun and me, within our household, for a very limited time. If this is the case then it is not my job to create miniature versions of myself...with my aspirations or talents or hang-ups or failures. The task at hand is to remember that I do not see the end from the beginning, so I am to take every opportunity I have to pour into them love, truth, authenticity, kindness, accountability, discipline, and steadfastness. I can slack off indefinitely in my housework. I cannot slack off for long in my mothering.
-The Us-es need to see living, breathing, healthy relationships between (a)Ma Luffin' Mayun and me and (b)God and me. They need to know the priority, the reality, and the prominence of these. They need to see the affection. They need to know the love. They need to know the truth that these relationships are absolutely not simple or easy or clear, but they are real and covenantal. And they need to know that there are elements of these relationships that will remain behind a veil, maintained as mysterious to them.
-They need to see me win. They need to see me fail. They need to cheer me on. They need to hear me ask for their forgiveness.
Yep. That so breaks the rules of developing a succint mission statement. But there they are, the principles that fuel the sacrifice.
Maybe in years past I wanted recognition out of some sense of insecurity in the newness of being "Mommy". Maybe I felt particularly unsung in the role (infants and toddlers don't typically give standing ovations). Maybe I needed some kind of acknowledgement because it would help me understand more of this aspect of myself, this Motherhood. I don't really know. Don't push the maybe, baby.
This year there are three. They're beautiful and funny and smart. And this year, whether I'm easy with it always or sometimes still feeling the mis-fit in my own skin, I know who I am: I am a mother, "mom", "mommy". I know it now. I don't need accolades or ceremony or applause to remind me of what I know. For such a time as this, I have the honor of parenting, with Ma Luffin' Mayun, these mysterious, remarkable little people.
So, some parts of me are dead, or dying, or will die. But I believe new will come, and rather than it just being newness in the life of myself it will be present in the lives of my kids.
It's the toughest thing I've ever done. It's the toughest thing I will ever do.
I wouldn't want to be found doing anything other.
Nothing else ever will make you as happy or as sad, as proud or as tired, for nothing is quite as hard as helping a person develop his own individuality especially while you struggle to keep your own. -Marguerite Kelly