Between packing and getting ready to move, I’ve been prone to tears for no apparent reason at the oddest times. Beautiful Thursday thoughts were difficult to come up with. So what if it’s Friday…you can still be beautiful today!
I began feeling melancholy (I love that word) Wednesday morning after Sophie left for her 7th grade class trip to St. Louis. Out of the blue, this thought came to me: How will I survive when she leaves for college…in six years? It’s like I’m supercharged and ready to pour emotion.
The nest is different when one baby bird is gone…ask any Mom. Sophie has been gone for 48 hours and I’m unusually aware that her music isn’t blaring and she isn’t singing along on the other side of her door. When she is gone, a light goes out in the house. How do moms handle the empty nest syndrome? Does our purpose completely diminish?
Our children need us. We need to be needed. Right?
For example, I went upstairs to take the sheets off Sophie’s bed and make sure she didn’t leave any half-full cups of tea sitting around her bedroom or bathroom. There, perched on the ledge next to the bathtub, was a jar of pickles (still quite full) that she must have snacked on during a bubble bath. See? How am I to cope when she is living in her college dorm and there are no jars of pickles to clean up?
To combat my blues, I headed straight to workout after Eli left. I always begin on the Elliptical and choose music according to my mood. Today I needed something upbeat so Pandora gave me Bon Jovi and I started strong.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve pretended to be sweating when it was really tears I was wiping. Please tell me I’m not the only one who experiences epiphanies when the right song plays. The good news is that I gained some perspective about being a MOM while exercising that I’d like to share with you on this Beautiful-Thursday-turned-Friday.
1. Starting strong is the easy part. Being a new mom is the greatest joy, but I assure you…hills will appear, resistance will grow, and finishing strong will seem all but impossible at times. But we are Moms, and we are strong. Sometimes we have to look the machine in the eye, turn the music up, and remember who we are (and for heaven’s sake, get some good music to listen to). Because no matter how much we teach, fuss, coax, or sweat, we were made for this and we will survive the course we’re on.
2. MOMs like us create children who excel, are strong, and are full of life. Sometimes we lay our heads on the pillow at night, completely overwhelmed, feeling like the biggest failure ever. We’ve yelled and stomped our feet. But remember that I just said we create kids who excel, are strong, and full of life? How can that be you ask? Because our children first see it in us! They will be faithful, true, and wonderful people because they get that from us.
3. MOMs are beautiful because we can muster one more shred of patience to overlook a messy room without coming (too) unglued. After all, is a clean room going to affect their rest of their lives?
4. Somewhere after being exhausted and worn completely out, MOMs find the energy to work on our other relationships too. We know the importance of propping each other up when needed, so even if it’s lunch once a month, a quick note on FB, or a short text, it’s okay. Of all the relationships in our lives, true friendships take the least amount of work because no matter the distance or lack of communication, we will always be there for each other. It’s what MOMs do when they’re friends.
5. We let go of our kids a little each day if we know what is good for us…and them. If we don’t let them explore new territories they will never learn to make good decisions when we aren’t there to be their eyes or feet. We have this deep understanding that they were never completely ours—therefore we learn now as they leave for class trips and summer camps to let them go because they are strong. We instilled strength and courage on all those mornings when we saw them off to school and taught them about love. See what a beautiful MOM you are?
6. We embrace each and every moment life affords us. You and I will look back and say, “These were the best days of our lives.” We will regret nothing because we’ve learned how to give our all, every day of our lives. MOMs know how to do no less.
7. A good MOM lets her kids see her cry. Tears teach them that even the strong have a weak side. Sometimes they are silly tears, other times they filled with grief. Let them see you cry. Let them wipe your tears. We are creating gentle, caring hearts that will touch orphans, the homeless, and the aged. Your tears will have taught them compassion.
8. I ask myself things like, “When my kids are on their own, will my marriage be strong enough to survive?” It’s a serious question, one that we have to consider now while they are young, not when we’ve drifted apart. Will it be strong? Yes it will. Because if I can survive motherhood then I can put as much effort into my marriage and it will survive. And we will not shrivel up and die when they leave the nest because we will not give all of our life, our energy, away.
Why? Because we are MOMs. We will survive until the end.
To all the MOMs I know, to all the MOMs yet to be…I hope you have a Beautiful Mother’s Day.