Friday, November 18, 2005

What he will never remember

Being a mom is tough. I guess I envisioned something entirely different when I was expecting. My child would never be the kind you so often see in Wal*Mart tearing down the isles screaming bloody murder in nothing but Kool-Aid stains and a dirty diaper. My child would never talk back, be disrespectful, deliberately disobedient, or crass. No child of mine would dare because I would be a good mother.

And then I grew up.

I've decided over the last ten or so years of parenting that the things that will ultimately determine if I was a good mother to my son are the things that he most likely will never remember. He will never remember the times that I got up with him in the middle of the night to rock him back to sleep when he was sick. I doubt he will recall the many dirty diapers, vomit puddles, runny noses, and other various bumps and bruises that I have been in charge of tending to. I am almost positive that he won't understand the absolute anguish that I felt the first time I saw him hang upside down on the monkey bars, or what it cost me to allow him to do it.

He will probably never thank me for being willing to leave a full basket of supplies that we needed in the middle of the store so I could drive him home and spend the rest of the day fighting with him, looking for ways to make his life miserable... chores, time outs, extra homework... anything I could think of to illustrate to him that being obnoxious and demanding is not an option he can choose from while we are out shopping. He will probably not understand the amount of staggering work and diligence it takes to raise a child to have a strong work ethic and to teach them to care about a job well done until he has a child of his own.

It won't occur to him that I don't have all the answers, and that mom's often say "because I said so" not to be difficult or obtuse, but simply because it feels like the right thing to do and we have no other explanation.

Being a mom is the scariest, most demanding, stressful, and rewarding job that I have ever had. It is the only thing that I will ever do that will ever truly matter, and I pray every day that I will have what it takes to do it well.


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