Thursday, May 10, 2012

Love, Your Imperfect Mother

"There's no way to be a perfect mother, but a million ways to be a good one." - Jill Churchill

Dear Finn and Brice:

This Mothers' Day I want to tell you that it means the world to me to be your mother. It is an honor and a privilege that I get to witness your amazing journey through life from the very moment your life began. It is a blessing that it's my name you call in the middle of the night and it's my arms you that are the safest place in your world.

I want to be the perfect mother to you, a curse I impose on myself. When I feel like I'm not getting this motherhood thing just right (the laundry is piled, the dishes are dirty, no one has said "thank you", and sibling rivalry is flaring), it causes frustration. That frustration of not achieving perfect motherhood is what I unfairly vent on you. I roll my eyes, snap "what" when I hear you say (or whine) my name, and the tension courses throughout my body as I begin to talk loudly with my hands and voice.

For all this, I am sorry. For the ways in which my own struggles with imperfection, unworthiness, and fear of vulnerability negatively impact on your innocent souls, I am sorry. I love you dearly and truly with every fiber of my being, but sometimes the light of that love is filtered by the clouds of my insecurities.

I hope that in the moments we share in peace and comfort as a family are enough. That when you reach adulthood you'll remember snuggling on Sunday mornings, baking pizza roll ups, and having dance parties more than you remember the times mom lost it and could have used a time out herself. I hope you will feel the safety and security that comes from knowing that each and every day of your life so far, we shared a smile, a laugh, a kiss, and a hug.

On lots of these days there were tears, too - over an unshared toy, a time out, a swat from your sibling, or the fear that when mom raised her voice she was so mad she didn't love you. I will always love you despite the lack of sharing, the fighting amongst one another, the clothing left on your bedroom floor, the fact that I've told you three times to sit on your stool, and that I still can't get you to eat your vegetables. All this and so much more I'll love you through. I will work on my tone (a promise I made to my own mother during my teenage years), but don't ever let it fool you into thinking I don't care about you with everything I've got. Sometimes, unfortunately, what I've got is damaged goods.

Finn and Brice, your mother loves you; she just isn't perfect. And, that will have to be okay, for all of us, especially your mother.


Your Imperfect Mother

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

The Garden in My Heart: The Reality in My Yard

The garden in my heart perpetually blooms: tomatoes like my grandmother grew on her family's North Jersey farm; a lilac bush like the one where my mother posed, towel between her legs because her water already broke, on the day I was born; daisies like the ones my husband brought me each week when, at age 22, we moved into our first house together; expanses of colorful, whimsical wildflowers like those in my bridal bouquet; and bountiful beds of organic fruits and vegetables reminiscent the farmers' market. This is the picture in my heart.

The reality in our yard...dirt. It's very dirtness both daunting and appealing. It isn't barren, though. It's poised. It's opportunity. And, truth be told, a heck of a lot of work!

Wish us luck this weekend as the picture in my heart collides with the reality in our yard!