Monday, May 12, 2014

Missing My Manual

All three of these hands get into everything, make messes, and fit in mine perfectly.

Yesterday I spoke about how it can feel a bit unnecessary to be honored for performing the tricky song and dance that is motherhood. Then I came home to stepping stones featuring my three babies' tiny hand prints, a snowman drawn by my three-year-old, a poem written by my six-year-old, and a baby girl with arms high in the air after missing me all weekend. It wasn't half-bad, really.

Mother's Day weekend is an important time in the world of Arkansas Catholic youth, and as an Arkansas Catholic youth minister, I spend those three days chauffeuring, chaperoning, and spending quality time with some pretty fantastic teenagers. Apparently while I was being hip and relatable and fitting in with the cool kids {how much do you believe that one??}, my very own cool kids were spreading the love.

I was so happy to see my bunch after an extra-long weekend, and although these little stones mean more to me than they can imagine, I am the thankful one. This season of my life is crazy, but it's amazing. I'm watching three human beings that formed within my body grow into contributing citizens. Every day they learn something new - more often than not it's what not to do, but it's a lesson still the same. And every time they learn, I'm right there with them.

I don't know what I'm doing and I don't know if I ever will. I've read articles and blogs about the moments young mothers say they feel like they've finally gotten the hang of motherhood. That they are in full control of their children's lives and know exactly what to do in every situation presented. I don't disagree with these women and I applaud their confidence, but I'm not there. I'm nowhere near completely comfortable in my role as mother, and I don't know if I'll ever be. Like I've said, being a mama is part of who I am, but I can assure you that doesn't mean I came equipped for it. I'm a mama because I wanted to be, not because I knew what I was doing. And that's okay. I'm content to know that every day I get a little closer. Plus, all these new lessons keep me on my toes (and high alert most of the time).

I know to limit nostril-sized foods.
I know what allergic reactions look like.
I know precisely where Nora's best tickle spot is located.
I know the hug sequence for Nathan at bedtime.
I know how to decode Owen speak.
I know time away from my kids is just as important as time with them.

I am miles ahead of where I was when I became a mother almost seven years ago, but I'm not naive enough to say I'm done. This is the tip of the iceberg, my friends. I've figured out a bit, but in no way, shape, or form do I have this situation under control. It's a special kind of chaos and I'm learning the steps, but it seems a new one is thrown into the mix every day. As a mama, I think my best bet is to take each step (and each misstep) as they come and cherish the season that we're in, because I know everything will change in the next.

I'm thankful to have Nathan, Owen, Nora, and their guardian angel for giving me a reason to be celebrated on the second Sunday of May, and I'm even more thankful to have captured a snapshot of this time in our lives. Those hands won't fit the concrete blocks for long, but each one has the potential to do great things. I may not know exactly how to get them there, but I promise I will try as hard as it takes. I think that's what's printed on the one page of my mama manual.

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Amanda said...

Love your list! I am going on my 5th year of learning the Mom Dance. I also have a sweet Nathan!

Grace Grits and Gardening said...

I don't think anyone is ever really equipped for it. Sounds like you are doing a great job.