Motherhood is quite a trip.
I'm talking other than the obvious sacrifices in the act of giving birth, such as: suffering through a fifteen point pain level on a ten point chart, having your insides pooped out with the baby that you are destined to deal with almost as long as your mortgage, and bearing stretch marks that drop the word sexy and attractive forever from your husband's vocabulary.
I suppose cleaning out the closets last week caused me to reflect a bit about being a mom. Surrounded by boxes of keep sakes, I laughed, shed tears and fumed. I saw regrets, mistakes and lessons. But I also saw joy, pride, and a journey that grows shorter every day.
Sitting cross legged on the bedroom floor, I suddenly grew old.
How wonderful to have gotten the precious homemade cards crafted with crayons and paste, the little portraits of our stick men family, and finger paintings as bright as a rainbow! And they all said “I love you, Mom” scribbled somewhere on them. It is sad to think that Hallmark ruined their creative, loving spirits. Now I am reduced to a card like every other mother gets on special occasions- a four dollar generic message that rarely seeps of love. Don't get me wrong- I enjoy and appreciate all the cards I receive, I am just a bit fond of the old days lately.
Sifting through photographs was the most difficult. That really got the tears flowing. Special smiles, new haircuts, favorite outfits and the look of innocence. When did my girls sprout boobs and mascara lined eyes? When did my son grow whiskers and deepen his voice?
(When did I start wearing old lady underwear?) Life is a mystery ...
Despite the fact that I had no parenting lessons, I think I did pretty good. They all seem well adjusted and happy. But it was a long road. Discipline and rewards were haphazard and inconsistent on my part, I admit.
Among the heap of memories, I pulled out a big package that once contained sheets of 500 little foil stars. I remember well sitting the kids down one morning (when they were fairly young) and offering to pay them an allowance. I would make a chart of chores for each of them, with a time limit, and post a star next to their name on the fridge. They were ecstatic!
In my head I imagined a mass of bright foil stars shining on the refrigerator, clean bedrooms, and tidy closets. I told myself this time I would enforce my idea. Not only would it benefit me, but it would provide a lesson in responsibility to the kids.
Apparently, it must not have worked. Opening the package of stars, there were still 497 left.
Days go by too fast. But every day that I have been a mother has been my reward. My children have given me the stars and the moon. My love for them will last beyond all the photos and cardboard boxes and the inevitable passing of time...
(Originally posted on July 18, 2008)