The Mom I Wish my Kids Had

8:43 AMHeather

He wrapped me up in a tight, tight hug, telling me that it would all be okay. And then he wouldn't let go. He told me not to worry and that God would provide some other way. He offered reassurances as he held me.

He had seen how discouraged I was. And when he asked what was wrong, I just started crying. I explained that I was disappointed with some bad financial news, on top of the day that marked the anniversary of my dad's death. 

I thanked him and reminded him how much I love him.

Moments later, his older brother quickly noted I wasn't myself as we passed each other on the drive way. I was off to run an errand while he was getting home from school. He, too, offered reassurances out of concern, and he also asked what he could do for me.

I drove away feeling even more broken. Because I wish I was a different mom. I wish my sons were not put in a position to comfort their frustrated mother. I scolded myself as I pulled out of our neighborhood.

And I thought that I wished I was the kind of mother that had a faith so sure and so steady that it never wavered. I wish my kids had a mom who walked in such strong faith that there was never an occasion that they saw me wrestling.

Other things came to mind. Other whispers of the mom I wish my kids had.

I wish my kids had a mom who never ended up in fetal position in the corner, rocking away from just pure exhaustion and weariness over mothering and life in general.

I wish my kids had a mom who always led out on some big time creative play. The kind of mom who had always embraced imaginative play or board games and who led out on all types of such fun. Instead of the mom who felt a sense of dread when they pleas to join the play began and who selfishly sought to guide the play to something I found palatable.

I wish my kids had a mom who didn't retreat some nights to my own room, just after dinner. I wish they had a mom who could stay upbeat and focused on their needs throughout the whole live-long day.

I wish my kids had a mom who loved to cook. Who loved to experiment with the healthy and enviable meals and who gladly welcomed the family to a lovely dinner night after night. Instead of the mom who says, "Cereal! It's what's for dinner."

I wish my kids had a mom with a poker face. The kind of mom who keeps internal eye-rolling to a minimum and offers instead a loving and warm and happy reception to random news, such as, "Hey! Guess what! I have a big project and we need to go to the store right now for supplies."

I wish my kids had a mom who loved and lingered over bedtime. For real. A mom who fell asleep while praying over her children nightly, like I once saw on Instagram. A mom who reads long stories and snuggles long and belabors bedtime because it is just so precious. Instead of a mom who, with time and age, now says, "Isn't it bedtime yet? Hey--go get ready and climb in. I'll pop in for a quick prayer." 

I wish my kids had a mom who spent hours developing their spiritual life, carefully guiding them through devotionals and Bible readings and coaching them through how to read the Word and pray and do all the spiritual practices. I wish they had a mom who helped facilitate nightly family devotions and prayer time, without fail. Instead of a mom who is just plain tired. And prays quick arrow prayers all day long for my kids and whose ability to lead them through how to read your Bible comes in spurts and waves, rather than a daily consistent routine.

I wish my kids had a mom who was always the backbone and the encourager and the uplifter and the glass-half-full lady. Who consistently taught them how to look on the bright side and to stand firm on the promises of the Word and never fail or falter. Instead of the Eeyore, melancholy mom they have who struggles daily to ward off the pessimism.

I wish my kids had a mom who perfectly fit the description of Proverbs 31. A P31 lady who always brings her husband good and not harm, who is industrious and rises early, whose trading is profitable and who regularly opens her arms to the poor and extends her hands to the needy. I wish they had a mom who has no fear for her household and who is clothed with strength and dignity and who LAUGHS at the days to come with no fear. Instead of the mom who occasionally nags her husband, who hates getting up early or at all, who sporadically helps the poor and who frowns and dreads the future way more often than I laugh at it. 

Well, because I don't think the sarcastic, callous laughter counts.

Oh, yes.

There are many wishes I have about the mom I think my kids should have. About the mom I think would be far better suited for the job. About the mom I perceive from those around me who I think is doing this whole mothering thing way better, with more finesse and faith than I could muster.

But, I guess I'm like the Velveteen Rabbit mom. I'm worn and torn and have lost my shiny newness. I'm ragged around the edges and no longer in mint condition. I'm not fit for a store display of beautifully and perfectly made moms.

But I'm real. I'm oh-so-very-real. I'm messy and honest and authentic and inconsistent. I miss the mark and fall short and let my weaknesses show. I have regular opportunities to ask my children for forgiveness when I snap at them or make a mistake. Everyday, as I seek to live out my faith and trust it all to Jesus, my kids see my wrestling match. They know when I falter. They know how I land back in the Word and in prayer and how I beg for his goodness to keep my wandering heart tied to him. 

All these things ran through my brain as I left my house that day last week. All the wishes I had for the mom I want my kids to have. Because I felt badly that my sons were put in a position of needing to lift me up.

But then, as I pulled into the store parking lot, I realized.

I realized that maybe I'm not so far off the mark, after all.

Because my sons were sensitive and thoughtful and had an occasion to practice kindness and empathy. They were both encouragers and they were doing that thing that I ask them regularly to do.

To lift others up--to build others up.

My authenticity gave them a chance to practice. 

And my kids have learned, hopefully, some valuable lessons with their less-than-perfect mom.

They've learned that when life is messy and hard, we run to the only One who truly holds it altogether.

Because I can easily fall prey into thinking about the mom I wish my kids had.

Yet I am forever thankful for the Heavenly Father that fills in my gaps and loves them perfectly.

And I gotta trust that he knew what he was doing when he gave those kids this little Mama Bear. Grumpy, worn and tired as I might be. I gotta trust that God knew what he was doing after all.

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