through her eyes

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

My happy sunshine-girl runs in through the front door; I barely get my hand up to wave the bus driver on – precious package received, kind sir – before she thrusts her giant handmade Mother’s Day card and the styrofoam cup with a wilted pink begonia into my arms.

My heart sinks a bit when I see that the card contains a survey “all about my mommy”. You know the feeling. The moment of panic where you’re just not sure what your children will awkwardly misinterpret – what they have said or written or colored that will flush your face with mortification.

I think you also might share this other bit of fear that I have – the one where you fear that what your children see and hear from you is your worst self. The nagging, the yelling, the dirty looks, the time spent not giving them your full attention. That’s my true panic setting in. What if my children disclose all of the bad stuff? What if that’s all my children know about me? What if that’s who I really am?

I open the card with trepidation. I read through the age and weight guesses. Either I’m 24 or 34. I weigh 10 pounds, and I’m 20 feet tall. My favorite food is salad. My favorite color is green. When I go shopping, I buy bread. Then I get to the good part – what is your mommy’s job? Oh great, I snark, here’s where she puts ‘my mama ignores me while she surfs the internet’. But no, it reads: “My mommy’s job is to foster a baby.” Well. That’s true enough. Maybe I’ve got one thing going for me.

The survey continues: ”My mommy’s favorite household chore is cooking dinner.”
”My mommy’s favorite drink is Pepes.” [Pepsi]
“My mommy always tells me she loves me.”
”My Mommy loves me because I am her girl.”
Sigh.

Turns out our children do see the real us. They notice us cooking them dinner. They see us living out our callings. They hear us tell them we love them. They know they belong to us, and we belong to them.

While we spend our time praying that they will develop amnesia so they can’t remember that time when we just completely lost it, while we worry over the legacy that we’re leaving for them, while we waste hours determining whether we’re any good at all of this, they’re spending their time resting in our love.

In their eyes, they don’t see stretch marks, smudged mascara, or greasy hair. (because when does a mama have time to shower?) In their eyes, we’re beautiful. Only 10 pounds and 20 feet tall with “I like your make-up, Mama” thrown in for good measure. In their little minds, there will be dinner because we love to make it for them.  In their memories, the words we say most often aren’t “Clean your room!” or “Cut it out!” or “Be quiet!”, but instead, “I love you.”

And in their hearts, they know why we love them: because they are ours. Simple as that.

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