To my darling girls….if I could repeat all tmy mistakes I like to think I would do better. The truth is, believe it or not, I truly strive to do my best every single day that I am your mom. Some days, I feel indestructible….other days I feel like an utter failure. I am not sure what disturbs the balance…I wake up with the same mentality every morning, be the best mom that I can be. Some days, I take you to work with me then we head off to the pool. I soak in a little sun and then I soak up all of your sweetness in a few sweet but glorious hours. Other days I have to lose my mind to get you to stop fighting with your sister, or to sit down and I have to have a come apart to get you to chill. It is such a struggle…….where’s that happy middle? What am I doing to tip that scale, or even it out? I am so unsure that I question what in the world I am doing raising two children when I clearly have no clue what I am doing.
On those days I lay down at night after you have drifted off into oblivion. I look into your room as your sweet lashes grace your cheeks, pink from the sun, and I feel so deflated. I recall all of the ways I could have parented you better that day. All of the tiny ways I failed to be the best version of myself. I think back to the way I over-reacted and screamed when I could have remained calm. I think back to the face you made as I was scolding you and wonder if I am damaging these gifts I have been given? Then I weep.
I weep because surely God must have made a mistake handing off such prized possessions to such a failure like me? I weep for all the words I spoke in haste and aggravation…….surely a good mom would mind her tongue? I weep because I am giving you all that is left of me and it will never be enough. I weep because nothing will ever be enough for you…….because even the best still doesn’t measure up. I lie awake at night, long after you have drifted off to sleep and I weep.
Most days I am not my finest. I am literally just trying to make it through my day…and that makes me ashamed. I wish I could just stay at home and love you girls but there are bills and things I want you to have…so me and your daddy work. With that comes exhaustion, stress, and busy schedules. I could cry just thinking of all the things I have yet to do tonight at 6:30 pm, which will take me until midnight, and I have to get up at 6 to clean 3 more cabins. We go, and we go, and we go…until we are all wore out from the week, exhausted, over extended and just plain over it……then we all lose our minds for a minute.
I like to think that I purposefully took Fridays off because I knew I would need at least one down day to absorb the chaos of the week, unwind and embrace you girls. The truth is I took that day because all my clients wanted it and I decided that I would use that as my down day. Down to go to the pool, down to nap, down to clean my own house, down to spend my day with you or take you to a sitter and get a pedicure. It was my day to decide. The truth is I can’t remember a Friday I actually took for my own needs. Every single time I try to do something for myself on a Friday I wind up wishing you were with me. So, goes our summer…….if it is sunny on a Friday we are at the community pool. I am sitting poolside reading a parenting book or writing and watching you girls play. That is our typical down day. I normally jump in every 30 minutes to play with you and cool off that is….until last week.
Last Friday, turned out to be the downest-bestest day of all. I sat in my lounge chair taking notes on all the things I needed to do before the end of summer. I am soaking in the sunshine, and feeling pretty accomplished at the amount of things I completed that week. Then a shadow fell over me and I worried that perhaps the forecast had changed to rain. I pulled my book down from my chest just in time to hear, “Mom, I know you just want some peace and quiet….but would it be okay if I sat with you awhile?” That familiar lump crept into my throat and I managed to whisper, “Sure, Braelyn, sit with me anytime.” I pulled a lounge up next to mine and you sat quietly for a few minutes but I could almost hear your thoughts jangling around in your mind.
“You ok, Brae?” I ask as I rest my hand on your scrawny, tan knee cap.
“Yes, Mom, I just don’t understand life some times.”
“What don’t you understand? Maybe I can help you if you just tell me.”
These conversations were few and far between with my first little darling. But when they came I knew to sit aside whatever I was doing and take heed. Although my oldest baby struggles to state what she thinks I have learned to speak her language. A language of love, a language foreign to most people I listen with my heart on these days.
“I don’t know why Brynlee makes more friends than me and I have to be lonely in the pool. I try to be nice to people…and all that…but she just makes them like her and they don’t like me.”
Side note (and all that, is her current saying fixation)
“Oh, Brae, I think she just keeps talking to them and playing with them until they become her friends.”
Insert Braelyn logic, “So I have to be annoying to make friends? Just keep bugging them until they play with me because that is what I been doing. I been talking and playing and all that but they are still not my friends. It is pretty boring without even one friend out in that pool.”
My heart literally crumbles into shreds as I hear my sweet, innocent, purest little love confess her view on the world. Her real, honest, true view. No blame placed just a genuine heart trying to figure out where she fits into this world and having no idea that she was in fact my WHOLE world.
I laid that book down and picked up my daughter. I am in fact 5 foot tall and 115 pounds. I did indeed pick up her 4 and a half foot, 85 pound body and carry her into the pool. I also disregarded everything I was reading in that parenting book she interrupted. I cradled her in the water with her sweet little arms draped around my neck and those arms will always be my finest gems. I let her head rest in the spot that connected my neck to my shoulder the way she used to when she was just a baby. I felt the hot tears sting my cheeks as they slid from under my sunglasses. How has it been 10 years? Where did the time go? I am not the mom I dreamed I would be. I am not enough. I should have been in here enjoying my daughters instead of tanning. I continued to berate myself, refusing to acknowledge the tiniest bit of good in me. You prayed for kids, you actually begged God for kids for 7 years….for what? So you could ignore them while they felt isolated at the pool and you tanned? You seriously got bent out of shape this morning when they could not find their shoes in a timely fashion? You don’t deserve these kids…
“Mommy, I remember when I was with God and I told him that I wanted you to be my mom. He is so awesome isn’t He, Mom? He knew I needed you to be my mommy for when I was lonely in the pool and all that!” Her blue eyes lit up with the heavenly light she had brought into my world and a quiet sob escaped my lips.
“Don’t cry, Mommy sometimes I think about how lucky I am and I cry too…and all that!”
I squeezed her until my lungs filled with oxygen and my tears finally abated. For this day, I would allow myself a win. I would allow myself to feel like I had successfully loved my children with the degree of love I wanted them to feel every single moment, of every single day. I played with them, and I realized it was unrealistic to show them love this unabashedly every minute of every day but I allowed myself to pretend I was going to. I just let go and loved them, accepting that moment as sheer happiness. I took in their sweet profiles, the way the sun danced off their tanned skin and the pink on their cheeks and I cried tears of joy. I tried to steal away that moment for days not nearly as bright. It was really perfection, their little blonde heads were kissed by the sun and their smiles were upon their lips. I could sit in the sun all day and their laughter would out shine it… every. single. time. So, maybe, just maybe I was living my best life, maybe I was being my best self, maybe I was being a good mom today……..and all that….
A Mom Who Is Doing Her Best…and All That