In my few months over the holidays when I really slowed down, I had a good deal of time to really reflect about what kind of a mother I hope to be for my children, and how each of my children have impacted me. The outcome of all that reflecting? Realizing that motherhood is putting me back in school. The School of Virtue. Est. April 27th, 2009, the day I became a mother. There are days I flunk out. F+, maybe D-, but the school is always open for learning whether I am failing or not.
The day your child is born begins the eye opening, soul shattering, mind blowing, sometimes break you open, and breathtakingly BEAUTIFUL life lessons at the school of motherhood. Little by little motherhood has sometimes gently, and often abruptly opened my eyes to who I really am, have the capacity of being, and who I am choosing to be, whether I like it or not.
Patience, Sacrifice, and Unconditional love. It comes easy in that newborn face, and those sweet docile and oh so innocent first months when they eat, sleep, cry, and eat some more. Your heart pours forth. And through the tired weary eyes, you would give your life for that little soul in your hands. As they develop their own personalities and often times strong two year old will powers (my kids got a good dose of the strong), that overflowing unconditional love is still there mind you, but it starts to challenge you….to really see what you are made of. Those sappy overflowing feelings usually don’t show up when they are throwing the third tantrum in a row on the kitchen floor over the second snack you said they couldn’t have. Or when they stubbornly refuse to clean up their 132nd mess of the day…..the feelings are not there, even though the love still is.
I have had so many days when I see so painfully clear that I often demonstrate conditioned love to my children. When they aren’t the perfect child in public or they deliberately choose wrong over right, I don’t often feel like being patient or forgiving. It is all too easy for me to be short tempered and snappy. And yet they never run out of hugs and kisses for mama (yet), and are so quick to forgive me of my faults. All three of them teach me through every challenge and every small victory, every tear they shed, and every smile. Through the art of consistent love you heart is schooled. It is what slowly teaches you how to give without expectations or limitations. To love without thinking of what it will cost, or without expecting anything in return.
It’s an honor to be at this school of virtue. Even when it is mundane, repetitive, or thankless. Motherhood is my greatest work. I think I will be in school for years to come, but am so grateful to be learning.
Sending love to each of you mothers – first time and long time. Your work is valuable beyond measure. You are irreplaceable in your child’s life, and your sacrifices may not be seen, but they will produce some pretty bountiful fruits in the hearts of your children.
P.S. I’ll edit this late night rambling tomorrow. Thanks for reading through it;)