As Mother’s Day approaches, I know you will tell me how much you love me. I know you’ll say you appreciate me and that you notice my hard work. I will soak it up and hug you and say thank you; I know that is how it will go. But what you may not know is that this holiday, without fail, stirs up an introspective storm in my heart. It causes me to analyze myself as a mother, and to wonder why I am being praised for my average-at-best performance as a mother. Motherhood is a mystery. It is a mystery wrapped in guilt, inadequacy, laughter, tears, and so much love it is physically painful.
To my firstborn:
You have had the best and the worst of me. You have been my world, and you have been cast aside at the arrival of a new sibling. You bore the brunt of the expectations I held for myself as a new mother, and you suffered along with me as I fell short of every one of them. I look at you and see how amazing you are: so smart, sweet, talented, and wise. I want to take credit, but I know that I cannot. When others compliment me on your kind spirit, or your wisdom beyond your years, I thank them awkwardly, knowing that these qualities are gifts of God and I am just so thankful I haven’t managed to crush them with all my bumbling at this parenting gig. My prayer has always been that you would have wisdom and understanding beyond your years—and you DO. You are amazing. I watch you in awe, wondering why I get to be your mom. You are a gift and one which I do not properly appreciate. You are a gift from God. God is gracious, indeed.
To my middle child:
You, my only daughter, are fierce. You are so strong and so amazing. I don’t think there is another like you in the whole world. You are incredible. You are so smart, so funny, so unique and beautiful. I have often joked that I want to be like you when I grow up—so beautiful and confident. I joke, but it’s true. Your strong spirit is wild now, and my prayer is that you would harness it gracefully and use it for the Lord. I think you want to, I really do, and to watch you come into your own as a young lady and a follower of Jesus is a privilege I do not have words to describe. I feel so inadequate to parent you; you are more than a mere mortal, and who am I to attempt to tame your greatness? I pray that I will not. I pray that I will help you find your place without taming you. You will do great things, my daughter. You are arrayed in His splendor.
To my baby:
You hold the weight of all the tears I cry over days past. You are my last chance, and you will always bear that burden. You are the most charismatic person I know, a radiant soul. Your smile lights up the world. You get the best parenting from me, but probably the least attention. I no longer sweat the small stuff, but I no longer have time to sit on the floor and do puzzles. You, like your brother in the mirror, are getting the best and the worst of me. I’m sorry I don’t read to you enough. I’m sorry you spend most of your days as a tag-along in the back seat of the van. I’m sorry I hold you a little too long and squeeze a little too hard, but you know, you have already lost that baby smell and I need to remember what it feels like to hold the weight of you in my arms while I still can. I didn’t savor that with your brother or your sister, and now they are gangly and too big to hold. I miss them. But I don’t have to miss you yet. So I will keep on squeezing. Your radiance and the sparkle in your eye will take you far in life; I pray that you will use your natural charisma to point people to the Lord.
So I say to you, the three that made me a mother: Happy Mother’s Day, my loves. Thank you for the privilege of holding you in my arms, wiping your tears, and cheering you on in this life. I love you.
What would you write to your children on Mother’s Day?
Eryn is a thirty-something mother of three, living in the beautiful city of Richmond, Virginia. She, her kids, and her husband Bo attend Multiply House Church and she is very involved in Community Bible Study. She relies on Jesus daily to cope with her children’s shenanigans, which are plentiful. She also enjoys running and fitness, being involved in her kids’ school, and watching bad reality TV.