Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Making the grade of motherhood

My favorite time to write is after dinner, while the dishes are still dirty and stand impatiently in the sink.  While Casey is upstairs giving the little her bath, and I can hear the jolly symphony of water splashing, laughter, a little fairy voice exclaiming, "DID IT!" and the deep baritone of my husband narrating their nightly journey.

It's the signal that, for the most part, our day is coming to a close. 

Sure, there are those dishes.  And a stray sock or two to reunite with their mates.  A floor to vacuum. 

I often find myself thinking about our day.  The victories.  The challenges.  The tears and the laughter.  The ways I was super-mom and the places I need to improve.

I think a lot about "good" motherhood, because I firmly believe there is such a thing.  Not perfect motherhood... oh, no.  But motherhood that is gracious, forgiving, nurturing, selfless and uplifting.  That chooses right when it is hard and loves through the stubborn and the temper and speaks softly when the other voice is raised.  Being a teacher, I often think about how Leah would grade me on the day.

I so often find fault with myself, longing to be more.  If I had to grade myself on the day, I'd give myself a C.  Maybe a C minus for that hour of Caillou we watched so mommy could do dishes and talk on the phone. 

Perfectionist?  Yeah, I'm acquainted with the term. 

But as I sit here listening to my daughter count to five all on her own (skipping three, because, well, who really needs three anyway?), I can't help but think: she doesn't need perfect.  She needs me

At the end of the day, that's the miracle of it.  This girl that I made was made for me.  The ebb and flow of her temper and my patience that more often end up creating harmony than chaos.  The buttons she pushes in me that push me to be better and learn better and do better.  And then?  I do.

The quality of being good enough has always been one that I've strived hard for and rarely achieved.  When I put on my magic mom hat, though, it's not only enough but exactly right.  The same way my body knew how to carry her when she was on the inside and I knew how to soothe her when she was on the outside, I know how to mother her while she's busy turning into the person she's supposed to be (which, by the way, someone should really tell her to cut out.  It's all going waaaaay too fast for my tastes.).

Will it always be so? 

That only time will tell.  But as I sit here on this particular night, I have a sneaking suspicion that my C minus is actually an A. 


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