I was chatting with a friend at work the other day when he said something that took me by surprise. He was telling some story – I forget what it was about. And he said, “Yeah, she’s like you…very motherly and compassionate.”
I’ve had lots of roles in my life: daughter, sister, wife, friend, mother. And I’ve had lots of job titles: banker, sales associate. marketing director. But I’ve never really thought about the adjectives… the labels that might describe me.
Funny? Sure, especially after a few drinks.
But “motherly?” Hmm.
I do my best as a mom. I try hard to let my daughters actually feel my love, not just hear me say the words “I love you.” But like everyone else, I fail alot of the time. You get caught up in life and work and chores and everything, and before you know it, they’re asleep and that day you feel like you’ve blown it.
I felt that way alot this week. Like I had blown it. I snapped at my older daughter way too much, my patience visibly wearing down. I’m no Joan Crawford but sometimes I wonder if I demand too much of her. Fortunately, my little one is still too small to argue with me. She just smiles and rolls with it.
But my older one? She’s older, wiser. Practically a tween. I’m on the border of being someone she wants to snuggle with at night to someone she wishes would just leave her alone. I don’t want to parent out of fear, but honestly, I don’t want to be the reason she’s sitting on the couch of the Dr. Phil-of-the-day sometime in the future. Of course, I don’t want to be her best friend, either.
I find myself stealing moments and burning them into my memory as if it will all be gone tomorrow. I’ve noticed that her arms and legs are longer than they used to be. Obviously she’s getting bigger, but she’s looking less and less like my little girl and more like a GIRL. Her skin isn’t as baby soft and smooth. And her feet are nearly my size.
Stop and breathe. Savor the little-girl-ness and the innocence…
I cuddled with her a little longer tonight and listened to her lullaby songs (which she’s listened to since she was a baby…and I love that.) She told me how excited she is for an upcoming family wedding; how she got to the next level on her video game; and that we should go to the library tomorrow to get some new books. I kissed her and hugged her. She held on tightly. Then we did our kissie lips…something her father and I have been doing since we were dating.
Good night sweet girl, happy dreams.
Good night mommy.
It’s hard to be a parent. But it’s also my most rewarding role. When my friend referred to me as motherly, it wasn’t meant to be insulting. I knew he meant it sincerely, as a compliment. I guess when I think of someone being motherly, I think of the perfect mom. We all know them. They’re experts on eveything. They can juggle everything. And they’ll tell you all about it. But really, they’re full of shit. I don’t like that version of motherly. I prefer my own slightly screwed up, slightly paranoid, slightly impatient version better.
And no matter what I do, my girls will probably end up in therapy anyway.