My friend Anna recently shared a letter she wrote to her mother, and I immediately knew I had to share it with you all. This letter is for my mother, for your mother, and for each and every one of you that is a mother.
Like many of us, Anna is going through a tumultuous season of parenting, balancing work, health issues, and changes on the horizon (her youngest is starting kindergarten today). Realizing she needed a reminder of the gift that parenting is, she sat down and wrote the following:
A letter to my mom:
Just a note to tell you I love you and I appreciate every single second of love you poured into feeding, clothing, sheltering, and growing us. I definitely didn’t appreciate it growing up… at least I didn’t understand and appreciate it in the same way I do now.
I’m only eight years into motherhood but I get it. I understand to my core what it is like to so fiercely love such tender little beings, to silently trudge though the daily monotony of caring for them and keep a house running. I get that some days it is long, tiring and seemingly thankless and unnoticed.
I also get why we get up and do it all again. Over. And over. Their little hearts need love, care, guidance, nourishment and tenderness. And, I’m the only one on this earth who was created perfectly to give that to them. To love and care for them can be overwhelming but it is also the single greatest honor I will have in this life. I get to love these beautiful little creatures who are the most perfect parts of me and my husband.
They are living, breathing, miraculous representations of our love for each other. When I look at my two beautiful girls I see my husband, I see our marriage, our love for each other and it makes me want to care for them with such tenderness that it hurts. It pulls at my heart strings and tightens my chest. It makes me want to give them everything I have, the best of me to show my husband how much I love and respect him and our marriage. How I treat them, care for them, love them, feels like a direct reflection of how I feel for my husband and the life we’ve built together.
Some days it completely blows me away that I am trusted with them. With their little hearts. I can feel overwhelmed with all that encompasses loving and caring for them. But, I know that some day when they grow up, God willing, they will understand everything about me right now at this very moment.
They will understand my frustration with them sometimes. My fierce protection. My need to correct and guide them. They will someday understand how there are days I completely lose it when I step on yet another freaking Barbie accessory that wasn’t where it should be. They will understand why I cry and to them it is seemingly for no reason. Some day they will understand how I can get myself to do endless loads of laundry, pick up the same stuffed animal or iPod eight times a day and prepare food for them over and over and over. Eventually they will understand why I like to go out with my girlfriends and why their father and I need to go out on dates. Alone.
My children will eventually understand the love I have for them. They will see why I cherish their little drawings and scribblings. They will get why, when they crawl into my lap and tell me they love me, it moves me in a way that is indescribable. Some day they will feel that strong rush of emotions that can come over me when I go into their rooms each night and gently kiss their sleeping cheeks goodnight.
Someday… Someday they will understand everything about their mother just like I do now. And maybe, just maybe, they will make a feeble attempt at telling her how much they love her for everything she has ever done and continues to do for them. Maybe they will forgive their mother for any of her failures, shortcomings, and bad days throughout the years because they will get it and they have now become so acutely aware of their own.
They will understand that there is no one on this earth that loves them as fiercely and deeply as she does. And, even if that day never comes where they reach out and say thank you, that is okay. Because we do this job of mothering, not for the recognition, not for an eventual gesture of thanks, but because we were hand selected by God to guide these precious little souls of his through this life.
While mothering is challenging, lose your mind monotonous, and at times throw your hands up and want to quit frustrating, it is also an honor and a gift and a deep expression of love for our husbands. Thank you isn’t enough to express my gratitude and appreciation for you, but it is all I have. And I know you understand every single word of this message and you get it. You understand.
We are mothers.
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