I very much prefer living life blissfully unaware of my faults. I like to imagine myself being one of the best mothers around. The truth is a little different ... I'm human. I make so many mistakes in this game of motherhood that I have long since lost count of them all! There are some lessons that I seem to keep repeating. I get lost in the moment and do what is instinct instead of what is right.
This morning I was lying in bed, and Elly climbed in. I was tickling her and cuddling her and just really enjoying her. I kept planting kisses on that beautiful little giggly girl. I was lost in the moment of love. I have often said to my kids "If I never told you that I loved you would you know?" They give me that look like Mom has finally lost her marbles. "Ya". "But how would you know?" I would ask. "Because you hug and kiss me all the time. Now can I go and play?"
I was lost in the moment of love for Elly, my precious last baby, when I had this sicking, dreadful realization, I don't do that for Grace. I don't treat like Grace like I love her as much as I do, or as much as I should. I would die for my children. That sounds very over dramatic, but it is the truth. I adore my children. I love them so much that sometimes it actually hurts. I say this, but I don't always show it. It's not that Grace is such an awful child, she's not. She's a pre-teen (I think that statement in itself is well, statement enough), she's testing her boundaries, she's trying to explore her world. When she was little and explored her world I watched her in amazement. Back then exploring her world meant creeping around touching things and putting them into her mouth. Now exploring her world means shouting in my face, not as adorable. My understanding is that they all do it. It sucks, but it's normal. She and I have a lot of angry words. My love for her has never faded, but my patience most certainly has.
After Elly had scrambled out of my bed I lay there. I lay there with that awful feeling. That feeling where I know that I am failing. That feeling like I could be doing so much better of a job. To try to push away that sickening feeling I tried to defend myself, "It's hard to kiss and hug someone who is always pushing you away!" That voice I hate then pushed in "Maybe she's just pushing away because she is testing you to see how much you love her... YOU'RE FAILING! Maybe she's acting angry because you don't make her feel loved!" I shook my head, trying to get rid of that holier than thou voice. "Parenting pre-teens isn't easy" I said to myself in my head ,as if that was an excuse, as if that was a legitimate defense. I then had another dreadful thought.
If I plant a flower and lavish it with attention and the right fertilizer, and give it the perfect amount of water, it will thrive. If I make sure that it is planted in the perfect spot, with the right conditions and I religiously keep it weeded, it will grow strong and tall. If I stop doing all of those things when the flower is beginning to thrive, when it really develops thorns, eventually it will stop thriving. What if children are the same? What if all of the love I lavished in the beginning is just not enough? What if Grace needs my love and patience and attention more now than she did when she was little? What if I'm failing her?
No one ever said that parenting was an easy job. No one ever pretended that it was a job that always made you feel good about yourself. Just as children have their stages of growth, so does parenting. I don't like this feeling that I am having right now. I don't like the feeling of failure. I will not pretend that now that I have realization I will never fail, I am just promising myself, and my children that I will make a better effort. I promise that I will try harder, even when I feel like running away. One day this period in our family history will be just that, history. This is the time that we are writing that history. In the future I will look back and be able to see all of my strengths and failures, but for now I just have to try harder.