My chin rests on the crown of her head as she snuggles deep into my lap. She never used to be a snuggler, not even as a newborn. She would cry if you cradled her; she wanted to be upright and looking around. But now her lanky frame is curled up awkwardly in my arms and I treasure this moment.
“When I grow up, I want to be a doctor,” she says.
“That’s great! If you want to become a doctor, you can become one.” It’s true. This one’s as smart as a whip. “You’d be a very good doctor.”
She’s a little girl with big dreams. It brings back memories.
“When I was little, I wanted to be a writer and a teacher,” I tell her.
“But now you can’t do those things,” she replies matter-of-factly. “You have kids.”
Funny. I used to feel that way. Like somehow, I had to sacrifice my hopes, my dreams—my whole life—on the altar of motherhood.
I was wrong.
“Being a mommy doesn’t mean that I can’t do those things.” I need her to understand this. “Right now, I’m doing those things. All of them. I write every day. I teach you girls. But being a mommy is my favourite thing of all.”
She looks up at me and then wriggles in a little closer. “Being a kid with a mommy is my favourite thing of all.”
It’s moments like these ones that make it all worth it.
It seems strange now that there used to be this thing under the surface—my constant sense of failure—a roiling, bubbling volcano that would manifest itself in the ugliest of ways. Resentment. Everyone felt it. My oldest child had frequent tantrums. My middle child would quietly suck her thumb and twirl her hair into knots. My husband, who was in school full time, bore the burden of the home and was stressed to the max. And marriage was rocky.
But then, there was that moment—the moment in which my perspective changed completely. (If you missed that story, I shared it here.)
It has been almost a year since the big change, and the difference in our home is marked. My oldest has stopped throwing tantrums entirely. My middle child now only twirls her hair occasionally. My husband is much more relaxed and constantly tells me how much he appreciates the things that are done around the house. And as for our marriage, the truth is, I’m kind of crushing on him big time these days.
Even on the hard days, the peace that has flooded our home is incredible.
My daughter took me into the backyard today to show me the buds on the trees. As we were about to go back inside, we spotted a tiny snowdrop emerging from a bed of last year’s dead leaves. Although it looked fragile, it is strong enough to withstand the blustery spring winds and freezing April nights. My daughter smiled wide as we bent low and examined the bloom. It was beautiful.
I saw myself in that small white flower. A miraculous life emerging, bringing beauty into my family, into my home. I’m strong because the life that flows through my veins is strong—Christ’s beauty in me.
A friend once told me that, as a mom, you set the atmosphere of your home. I think she’s right. If there is unrest in you, you will bring unrest into your home. But if you are at peace, you will bring peace into your home.
Of course, there will always be circumstances—and other people’s attitudes and actions—that are out of your control. And you’re going to make mistakes. Lots of them.
But even in chaos, you bring beauty because Christ in you is beautiful.
“She is clothed with strength and dignity…” (Proverbs 31:25).
That, right there, is what motherhood is all about.