There are times when I beat myself up as a mom. Then there are little moments of reward. Moments when my daughter lauds my motherhood skills, my spirit soars, and I believe I’ve finally got this.
That’s just before my paper airplane wings bend, and I crash into the coffee-stained carpet in her bedroom floor.
Last night when I put Maggie to bed, I watched her falling asleep. I imagined myself as Grandma Moses, tracing the lines of my precious baby’s face, fingers, and hair as slowly as possible, an ant in the Sahara. I wanted to remember her beauty forever. I didn’t want to think about kindergarten in the fall. I didn’t want to see her size five pants turning into capris.
She opened her eyes suddenly and smiled at me. I prayed aloud and said, “Thank you, God, for the best baby in the world.”
“Thank you, God, for the best mama in the world.”
My heart soared.
“Thank you, poop. Poop. Butt juice.”
Ah. There it is. Back to reality.
The great thing about being a mom is the constant snap back to reality—back to humility. There is really no way to remain in the clouds as a parent unless you refuse to spend any real time with your child. Maybe I could carry a black and white photograph around, displaying it for my friends, and only spend five minutes per week with my daughter? That might help me believe she’s some perfect little creature. Maybe.
But the reality is, I live with her. I see it all–the beautiful, breathless moments when I’m enraptured by the miracle of her life. The poop, butt juice, and snot, too. Children keep us humble. They remind us of the most obnoxious, humiliating, disgusting, human aspects of our lives on a regular basis. They also push all our defective buttons daily. They give us a chance to work the positive opposites of our character defects. Children show us the best and worst of ourselves. They also allow us second chances, over and over again, as they extend forgiveness to us even when we fail them–every day.
Thank you, God, for keeping me humble and teachable through my relationship with my child.
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