I wrote this last night in anticipation of my Big Girl’s seventh birthday. It is an honor to be her mother and to have her in my life. God answered a big prayer the day he gave her to me.
She was the gift that showed me my purpose as a wife and a mother. Before I had her, I went through some serious personal struggles and they all fell aside and were unimportant after she arrived. I have a very special relationship with my own mother and it wasn’t until l had this incredible girl that I understood the value of that relationship.
I actually used to joke that I didn’t want a daughter. I thought they were too much drama. But I was wrong. This daughter is my lifelong friend in training. She is the sunshine in my darkest days. She is a servant who teaches me how to serve better. She changed me into a better person. I’m so thankful God made me her mama. Here’s a little bit of what I learned in my seven years as a mama.
On September 30, 2008, I had a scheduled birthdate for my first daughter. She kept trying to come on her own and then she’d stop. I didn’t know this would be a precursor to her big personality or her infuriating “just a minute” response to “Let’s go!”
I didn’t sleep much the night before. I was so wound up with fear, excitement, expectation and joy. I just knew life was going to change into a beautiful, messy, busy season. But I was ready.
I knew everything I needed to know to be the best.mom.ever. After all, I’d been a second mom to nine siblings, two dogs and two cats.
Being a mom was a piece of cake. At least at first glance. I had the mechanics down, but I wasn’t familiar with the finer details of a little person completely dependent on me for all her needs. In fact, I wasn’t ready at all.
Here are a few things I learned from this beautiful mess hubby and I made.
Mamas get to see the real person after everyone else leaves.
She was so sweet. That’s what he said the first time he held her. In his eyes, she was perfect. He was enthralled with her.
She had his number from her first breath. She was sweet. And perfectly herself.
I remember how she slept and grunted and stretched as everyone came around to adore her.
Then, when the final guests left, I fed her. I swaddled her and placed her in her little hospital bassinet. You’ve never seen eyes pop open so fast.
She had played the part. She was the perfect baby and now she needed to tell me about it. Those big blue eyes said, “Hey, Mama. Let’s talk about this life thing we started.”
She still does that to this day. She wants me to hold her and talk about life at 10 after 10 or later. It’s like she bottles it up for me.
Even if I’m crankier than I should be, I try to make this time for her. It’s when I really get to see who she is. I get to see her dreams, the things that make her smile and what’s really in that beautiful mind.
That’s my privilege. No one tells you this profound secret before you become a mama. And I’m so thankful to God I get to soak up all of her joy, sadness, fear and love as she rattles on.
Mamas get the joy of waiting on…
Words, walking, wonder, wails, writing…and just about everything else. We also get the joy of the other meaning of waiting. We serve two breakfasts, three snacks, lunch, dinner, dessert and a million cups of milk, apple juice and water.
These daily tasks of waiting and waiting on kids to…get ready, walk down the steps, work out their differences with their siblings, etc. We wait on prayers for situations with our kids to be answered.
We get waitlisted for tea parties at the library. We spend countless hours waiting on them at dance, soccer, scouts and choir to take them home to wait for them to get tired enough to go to bed.
All this waiting seems so long in the meantime. But that waiting is building our faith in Him. It’s building our strongholds of patience and joy. You see, there’s a reward for all this waiting.
We get to see the outcomes of our works in progress – first steps, first words, first books read aloud without help, first heartbreaks, first fears, first failures.
We get to see a baby become a toddler and then a little girl and then a big girl and then a young lady and then a woman. We plant seeds of trust and faith and love when we do all this waiting.
We get to see our kids grow, blossom and wither. But we get to see it all.
We wait and SEE.
Mamas get the joy of watching love move.
Love is a fluid thing. It’s a glimmer when we first find out we are going to be a mama. It’s a labor through nearly a year of protecting a life that’s part of you. It’s the hardest thing you’ll ever do to get that tiny love into this world.
Love starts off shy and becomes the belle of the ball when it enters a child’s understanding. She takes it and runs with a million hugs, notes of declaration and devotion and to the line when one of her own is in danger or under attack.
Mama watches love sprout leaves after the baby wakes up and realizes she is her own person. She wraps a vine around Daddy, her brother, her sister, her grandparents, her friends and even strangers. She sees this tiny love reach out for her creator and his people.
I’ve seen seven years of love crawling, curling and curtsying.
I can’t wait to watch it keep moving forward.