Today, at 1:48, I stopped designing graphics and answering emails, shut my computer, grabbed my gloves, my keys, threw my coat on and got in my freezing, and I mean freezing lovely Minnesota weather kind of cold, van. I backed out of the driveway still coated with this morning’s early snow, put the van in drive and started on the way to the primary school three minutes behind schedule.
The to-do list rolled in my head, Rachel Platten’s Fight Song on the radio and me moving forward. Showing up. For my guy waiting for me.
That would be my kindergartner, Samuel.
He expects me to show up. He needs me to remember at 1:45 to gather my stuff and to stop whatever urgent was on the radar and to replace it with him. Same with my second and fourth graders that I drive to next. They stand on the edge of the curb scanning for me to come over, to wave to the principal, to smile and walk them to the van and to ask them how their day went and high-fiving them because it’s Friday. Which is, in a way, such a sigh of relief each week. I think I hear the Hallelujah Chorus in my head the second I pull in the driveway and they run inside.
Just so you know and don’t think my life is super glamorous that’s me today. None brushed hair holding it up in the moment where I try to find the bindie to get together before I run across the parking lot and tell the gal through the intercom Rachel Martin here for pickup. Because he expects me.
They expect us.
They expect us in the middle of the night when they cry mama I had a bad dream that we will then wake our weary selves up, pull off the covers and hug them. They expect dinners and lunches and snacks. They expect that when there’s a fight between them and their siblings – even if it’s for ridiculous things like one of them took the Wii remote with more battery charge – that we will be there. Negotiating. Loving. Fighting.
It’s a powerful thing to be expected.
It’s a powerful thing to be needed, too.
And I know it can be tiring. It’s not like any of us have the go immediately to go card. Or the pass to take a night off just because we’re tired. In fact, I think we’re expected to show up even more when we’re tired. Those are the nights that they expect so much and we give and give and give.
Oh sweet expected and needed mother.
It is a gift to be needed.
I know. Probably not what you need to hear when the toilet is overflowing or one is puking at 4am or the clothes in the washing machine were left there too long or when the teacher leaves you a note asking you to come in to the office or you just want it to be quiet. I know. I think that the heaviest parts of motherhood are also the parts of motherhood that are the most beautiful and brave.
It’s in stopping the urgent to make Valentine’s Day boxes the day before the party.
It’s in smiling at 1:30am to the little with the bad dream.
It’s in waiting up for the teenager to return home.
It’s in watching flight tracker while your college student flies home (oh my I’ve done this).
It’s in letting tears tumble when you’re tired and you’re washing sheets.
It’s in talking to those teachers and working on all of that homework and setting rules.
It’s in fighting for them day after day after day.
It’s in working hard and staying up late so there is food on the table.
It’s in feeling alone sometimes and just needing a friend and still mothering.
It’s in being strong even when we feel weak.
It’s in you.
You’re expected. They wait for you. They love you.
They know you will show up for them.
They know you will answer the phone, open the door, make sure they’re buckled, fold the laundry, get the stains out of a favorite shirt, read the books, help with homework, set media rules. They know that you will wake for them and listen to them. They love us. Even when we mess up. Even when they hate us (because that will come). Even when we don’t know what to do next. Even when we feel like a mess.
They’re not scanning the crowd at school looking for perfection.
They just want their mom.
Motherhood is being on a full time 24 hour a day job for the rest of our lives in a way.
Being expected and needed is a most beautiful gift. Do you know why?
Because you, imperfect trying loving standing by them you, are their mom.
The one that makes them smile, the one that frustrates them, the one with limits, but the one they know, deep deep deep down, will be there for them.
They’re not alone.
They have you.