Mother’s Day always finds us in the final throes of the school year, sprinting towards the finish line. We have dragged ourselves out of bed for nine months, made 857 school lunches and hustled from piano to soccer to band to tennis to whatever. And WE ARE TIRED. My kid’s shoes have a hole in the toe and our lunch menu is a choice between bottom-of-the-bag chip crumbles or an almost expired granola bar I bought last October. (Bon Appetit kiddos!) I feel the ache of exhaustion in my legs and when I glance in the mirror, my face feels it, too. “Yikes! What happened??!” I say to my haggard twin. Then my inner girlfriend says “It’s age, honey. And exhaustion. It comes for all mothers.” Huh. Well, that’s stupid.
I’m no longer the peppy, spry mother I was in my twenties. Okay let’s be honest, I was never that peppy, but definitely more limber. Five minutes in criss-cross applesauce and my hips are locked for the entire weekend. But besides that, I’ve come a long way in my decades of parenting. Being in my forties has freed me from fretting over the small things that brought me to tears when I was younger (“Whyyyyyyyyy does this kid only nap for forty-five minutes instead of the ninety minutes this author suggested?? This is VERY. STRESSFUL!!”) My age has also gifted me with more grace for myself and my friends. Parenting is hard and we are all doing our best, right??
I have found motherhood to be eerily similar to riding the Incredicoaster at Disney California Adventure. It all sounds like fun and candy when my kids convince me to join them. I jump into the car hollering like a hipster, but after ten ups and downs and one loop-de-loop, hanging from the heavens, the ride stops and “WHAT JUST HAPPENED??” I exit looking ten years older with hair like an 80s rockstar. It is the whole experience of parenting, squeezed into a turbulent five minutes. No wonder I have stress lines on my face.
My point is this: so many of us have come a long way on this parenting journey (and this school year!) and it’s okay to feel a little tired. We have been a little roughed up! We have c-section scars on our bellies, gray hairs on our scalp, possibly some achy joints and definitely some emotional exhaustion from arguing about homework or fretting over the mental health of our beloved teenagers. But let’s not allow our energy or the mirror to zap us of our joy of motherhood. Let’s not focus on a couple trees and miss the beautiful forest around us BECAUSE IT IS THE MOST SPECTACULAR VIEW IN THE WORLD. How blessed are we to love and raise our children?? Beyond measure. ❤️
With these thoughts in mind, I recently saw an excerpt from the classic book “The Velveteen Rabbit” and saw it from a new perspective, a mothering perspective. Margery Williams says…
“Real isn’t how you are made,” said the Skin Horse. “It’s a thing that happens to you. When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become Real.”
“Does it hurt?” asked the Rabbit.
“Sometimes,” said the Skin Horse, for he was always truthful. “When you are Real you don’t mind being hurt.”
“Does it happen all at once, like being wound up,” he asked, “or bit by bit?”
“It doesn’t happen all at once,” said the Skin Horse. “You become. It takes a long time. That’s why it doesn’t happen often to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don’t matter at all, because once you are Real you can’t be ugly, except to people who don’t understand.”
Isn’t that beautiful?? The world tells mothers to get our abdominal muscles back, layer gel packs under our eyes and inject botulism into our faces so we can look like we are twenty. But I’m not in my twenties! I am in my forties and I want to be Real as I love my family and they love me back. I want to continue to become, even if I am tired and look a little older. My age is proof that I have been around the sun many times and have gone through the Incredicoaster of parenting without breaking. My edges are smooth and I am STILL here. And you are, too. ❤️ Congrats to us!!
Hoping you all feel Real and beautiful on this Mother’s Day,
(Meanwhile, I’m not sure my chip crumbles are going to last for the next three weeks so I guess I am on my way to the grocery store. Wait…wait, I just found some old fruit snacks in the pantry. We’re good…we’re good.)