Reflections on Motherhood

I remember holding Erich in my arms for the very first time.

I couldn’t believe this little bundle of life had somehow been entrusted to my care.

I had no training except for a few babysitting jobs in high school,

but none of those jobs had involved a brand new baby.

I’ll never forget visiting my mom when Erich was just six weeks old.

As we bathed him, she gently leaned his head back and to my horror there were little lines of dirt all through the wrinkles of his neck.

I had never thought to check this hidden place.

Who knew a newborn could create and store little rolls of dirt when I had bathed him every single day of his tiny life?

Motherhood has been a lot like this one moment for me ever since.

Me………..

stumbling along.

Missing things.

Learning as I go.

I’ve been a mom now for almost three decades, and I’m still amazed at what I do not know.

I’ve thought a lot about motherhood this fall as the leaves begin to float from trees in our yard.

I guess it’s really hitting me hard that my last child has begun her own descent from the safety of our branches.

A new season is coming at the Nischan house.

A season of bare branches.

A season of leaves all fallen and figuring out a way to make it on their own.

I wish someone would have told me when the branches were full just how quickly the seasons change.

Actually, my mom did.

I remember when Erich started kindergarten.

She said, “Once they start school, time will just fly right by.”

But there’s something about the day in and day out process of packing lunches,

and picking out clothes,

and doing science fair projects,

and making leaf collections,

and doing laundry and dishes,

and keeping the floors somewhat clean,

that tricks you into thinking this chapter of life will never end.

Last night, as Olivia folded her own laundry and carried it upstairs, I watched a woman walk by.

There is no doubt………….

my little girl has grown up.

And in spite of all I did not know about being a mom,

I’ve somehow helped raise another child.

So, for all moms who read this and feel inadequate,

incapable,

unprepared,

worried,

scared,

unqualified,

or simply tired,

take heart today.

God has a way of taking all of our “not enough” and turning it into “enough” when we place our kids in His hands.

I’ve messed up many times, and I’m sure I will time and time again.

I’ve said too much or not enough.

I’ve stepped in when I should have stepped out.

I’ve forgotten things, misplaced things, lost things, and even ignored things that were incredibly important.

I’ve tried to prevent struggles that God longed to use as teachable moments.

I’ve overprotected.

I’ve fought battles that weren’t mine to fight.

I’ve done a lot of things that have probably made life more complicated for my kids when what I really wanted was for their lives to be easier.

And it’s taken me all these years to figure out that my job really is more about loving than being.

When I held Erich in my arms, love swelled inside of me.

But so did the thoughts of all the things I needed to “be”, and I lived my mommy years trying to

be perfect

be present

be patient

be purposeful

and be positive……………………….

the problem is,

I fell short over and over and over again so I ended up spending many days

 being sad,

or regretful,

or frustrated,

or disappointed.

Don’t get me wrong, I loved my years of raising kids.

I cherish so many memories.

But if I could do it over again,

I would “be” less and “love” more.

I would relax.

I would soak up every second.

I would curl up in a chair and read more books with my kids.

I would leave the Legos spread out over the floor all day long…………..

Even if it meant experiencing the pain of the sharp plastic digging into the sole of my foot………….more than once.

I would make more Playdoh and be okay with making less money.

But most of all, I would listen to the world less and listen to God more.

There’s a lot of pressure out there to have the right clothes, the right shoes, the right car…………….

but I have found that my kids are happiest when they have the right attitude and the right perspective.

If you’re a mom,

I’m praying for you today as you navigate the waters of motherhood.

I hope you’ll take time to rest your paddle across your boat and just enjoy the ride.

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Stop feeling the need to “be”.

And simply embrace the opportunity to “love”.

Yes, there’ll be moments when you realize you missed something as obvious as lines of dirt on a newborn’s neck, but with enough love you’ll never miss what’s most important………………and that’s your child’s heart.

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