Carry On, Brave Mother
by Anita DiGregory
Over the last few months, I have been blessed to have the opportunities to meet and talk with many moms from all across the country—new moms, seasoned (notice I didn’t say “old”) moms, working moms, stay-at-home moms. I have talked with moms who teared up as they shared how hard it is going to be this month as they drop their little one off at preschool for the first time…how heartbreaking it will be to walk away. And I have talked with moms who shared their stories about packing up and dropping off their children at college.
Through tears and smiles, these moms shared their fears and joys, sadness and pride, all those mom emotions that accompany packing up a child (who seems like only yesterday was toddling around trying to take first steps) and depositing them and their mounds of stuff on a college campus, and then somehow trying to say goodbye. I myself have had the pleasure (and sadness) this month to have two not-so-little ones spread their wings and head out to tackle their next adventure.
Being a mom is an immeasurable blessing, but it is also a miraculous paradox. It is forever holding on and letting go. It is multi-tasking a million different things in a day, while precisely focusing on the hearts in your care and trying to imprint little MOMents in your memory forever. It is being a powerful force in someone’s life and development and being invisible at the same time. It is smiling even when your heart is breaking. It is saying, “It’s all going to be okay,” to someone who really needs to hear those words, when quite honestly, you don’t really know if it will be. It is staying close enough to be there when they need you, but far enough away that they can make their own mistakes and (hopefully) learn from them.
Let’s face it: this mom club is pretty intensive. Unfortunately, there is no handbook, no “official how-to produce faith-filled, well-adjusted, happy, helpful, successful, caring adults” manual. Believe me, there are times I would have happily paid all I had to flip to the back page of this life’s novel to make sure it all turns out okay.
Logically, you would think motherhood would get easier as they get older. In some ways, maybe it does. But honestly, for me, as my children have grown older and their struggles and challenges have gotten tougher, this motherly load has gotten heavier.
Sometimes, I feel like a sponge, not the mysterious, colorful, intricate ones at the bottom of the ocean, but rather the old, smelly, porous thing that is pulled out every time there is a spill, and it still manages (despite its age and appearance) to soak it all up.
I can actually feel myself just absorbing all the pain, sufferings, joys, and elations of those around me. Sometimes, it can feel really heavy. But did you know there is actually something known as a “mother sponge” in the baking process of sourdough bread.
The mother sponge is actually the necessary, smelly, beginning process that allows the resulting sourdough bread to rise and produce its bold, unique taste. So, here we are in September with all the changes it will bring before us. I guess that is just a part of the exhilarating, exhausting rollercoaster ride that is motherhood: the sadness and tears, the worries and anxiety, the utter joy and celebration.
For me, this rollercoaster has been quite intense these past few months. As I try to go forward after two more have left the nest, I must say it has been hard. This is the undeniable part of being a mother: to be a mother is to be a cheerleader, intercessor, consoler, crier, worrier, celebrator, confident, and resting place.
Whatever this season brings you, momma, fear not; know you are not alone; you are seen, and you are loved. “Breathe, sweet mom. Your kids need you. Not perfect. But you. With your worries. And your laughs. And your fails. And your try agains. Your love. Your showing up. That’s what matters. Breathe, sweet mom.”