She Was There

Looking at my life, I am often surprised. While I always dreamed of being a mother, I never imagined that one of my crowing achievements would include successfully taking apart a Dyson vacuum to clean the trail of sugar, cocoa powder, oil, and pair of underwear that coated the inside. I imagined story time and hugs and baking cakes with my children–not the frustration and weariness that consumed me after seeing the ‘cake’ that my daughters mixed on the dining room carpet.

There are days when I look around and think this life is ridiculous. Feeling overwhelmed by the chores that I never finish, the worry that I’m not discipling my children well, the constant fatigue–there have been times when I’ve whispered “why do I bother?”

With all the frustration that comes, I’ve questioned why I chose this path. Why didn’t I go back to work sooner? I could say it’s the hugs that keep me here or the sweet smiles, but, in reality, I know those joys are not unique to stay-at-home moms. Many moms work and come home to giant kisses; they spend the hours when they want to rest playing tea party or wrestling on the floor.

If I’m honest, the reason is that I want to be here. I don’t want to miss anything. I’m selfish with my children. I want to break up their fights and feed them lunch and laugh at their dancing and send them to time-out. I want to see all the parts of their day that add up to the over-tired meltdowns at 6:00 p.m.

And I want them to remember that I was there.

My mom was there. She was there as a stay-at-home mom when I was little, and she was there when ‘Jennifer the babysitter’ watched us while she worked part-time. She was there when I was in middle school and she worked, and she is there now that I’m 30-something with my own kids to raise.

I think about my life with my mother, and I can’t remember all the details. I can’t remember baking cakes or making crafts. I can’t remember the stories that we read or all the times that she pushed me on a swing. My horrible memory is partly to blame–but those details aren’t important. I remember what is important–she was there.

She is there.

A trust is between us that wouldn’t be otherwise. For 32 years, she has been by my side. For 32 years she has poured into my life, through the explicit advice she has given and the implicit lessons she has taught. I see a woman who worked hard for her children, and a woman who has compassion for others. I see a woman who displayed integrity always and sought accolades never.

I see a woman who does justly and loves mercy and walks humbly with her God.

Without explicitly saying these words, my mom taught me a lesson–what I love best about my job is that I am here; I see most of my children’s days and have opportunities that I wouldn’t otherwise–but I can be here even when I’m not.

My kids might not remember the times we baked banana bread or planted vegetables in the garden. They might not remember the time they had to scrub the crayon off the wall or apologize to their sister.

They will remember if I was here, truly here. They won’t pin down a moment, but they will feel the lifetime of moments, the hours of undivided attention, whether those hours were given over the course of a full day or after the workday was done until bedtime.

They will remember how I made them feel, just like I remember my how my mom makes me feel. And when I think of my own mother, well, I can’t help but smile.

 

This week I tried combining Mama Kat’s previous prompt of what I like best about my job with this week’s prompt–what is one lesson from your mom that has never left you? I’m not sure if it worked, but, alas, here it is! What is a lesson you learned from your mother?

Mama’s Losin’ It

 

7 thoughts on “She Was There

  1. Love this. I constantly worry that I'm doing things wrong…too much of this, not enough of that. Oh no! I'm going to mess them up, Lord! Why did I lose my temper with them for the 10th time today?

    But looking back, I don't remember or dwell on any mistakes my mother made or the fact that she always held a full-time job outside the home. I just remember the love and the fact that it was never lacking in our home.

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  2. What I nice tribute to your Mom, coming from a great Mom. I may not agree with you all the time with your disciplinary methods but I'm just a Dad. I do know that a skull and crossbones on a door works.

    I love you, daugfhter

    Dad

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  3. My sweet Jennifer, thank you! I am truly humbled by your words. Besides the day Dad and I married, having you and Lisa were the happiest days of my life. I loved (and still love) being a Mom. God blessed me with 2 beautiful girls, who now are wonderful mothers themselves. To me being a Mom was the hardest but the most rewarding job. Whenever, you or Lisa say, "I love you, Mom," my heart still melts. I read a quote by Elisabeth Elliot that said, "ordinary work, which is what most of us do most of the time, is ordained by God every bit as much as is the extraordinary." Her words helped me, when i felt i wasn't measuring up to the Mom who was a VP of a large company, etc. What is so wonderful for me is that i have 2 very special daughters, who are also 2 very special FRIENDS. God is so good and my cup runneth over. 🙂

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  4. Proverbs 31:25-31 makes me think of Bobbie Vignola each time I read it and obviously her daughters are following in her footsteps.
    Great post Jennifer.

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  5. What beautiful words! Thank you, God, for our wonderful Mothers! Happy Mothers Day to you and all of your sweet family! Sidenote- I rode through the oldneighborhoods last wkend & brought up the fun memories we all shared there. Good times. I love you all!

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  6. "They won’t pin down a moment, but they will feel the lifetime of moments, the hours of undivided attention, whether those hours were given over the course of a full day or after the workday was done until bedtime."

    Yes. That is exactly what I want for my son. Thank you for putting my feelings into your words.

    Like

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