By Morgan Starr from Rookie Mommy Raising Boys
When I think of my own mother, countless memories flood my mind. Vacations; fun activities; and things we did together during my childhood, my teenage years, and my adult life. But for some strange reason, the very first memory that always pops into my head when someone brings up my mom is something seemingly insignificant, yet very important.
I was in 8th grade–too cool to ever say the following out loud at the time–and it was a cold and blustery evening. I was warming up for my basketball game when I looked toward the doors and saw my mom walk in. She was still in her dress clothes from work, black coat wrapped around her tightly, and I could see the snow kicking up behind her in the parking lot as the wind whipped and the doors shut.
She’s here! I thought to myself. For some reason, the sight of my mother eased my nerves about the game I was preparing to play. But why wouldn’t she be there? My mom was always there. She never missed a game or a concert or a special event. She was there for the events that weren’t so special, too.
And isn’t that what it means to be a mother? To be there?
We’re there each time a diaper needs to be changed, and we’re there when our toddlers need help in the bathroom.
We’re there when the word “Mommy” is hollered from the next room over in the middle of the night, or when tiny feet hurriedly pitter-patter into our bedrooms at 3 a.m.
We’re there to cut their toast into triangles, because that’s how they like it, or to airplane food into tiny mouths.
We’re there at bath time and story time, and to say bedtime prayers.
We’re there for the big game, or the concert, or to pick them up from practice.
We’re there when they’re sick, worriedly calling the doctor or staying up all night.
We’re there to play, to stack Legos or drive toy cars.
We’re there to teach them and to applaud newly learned skills.
We’re there when our children succeed, and we’re there when they fall short.
Mothers are there. Why? Because our children are precious and important, and being there is the job that we do best.
And as my oldest son woke up time and time again with the stomach flu this past night, I found myself repeating the same words to him: “I’m here. I’m here. It’s okay, I’m here.” With those words, I could see his body relax, and I watched him eventually slip back into sleep’s gentle grasp. That’s what we mothers do best: we’re there.
And in reality, it doesn’t matter how many hours a day we physically spend with our kids, or whether we work or stay home. It’s the fact that we care so damn much about our babies, no matter how old they are, that truly counts. We’re there physically when we can be, and when we’re not, we are mentally there, thinking about our kids, worrying about our kids, and planning things for our kids.
So on those days when we don’t feel like the perfect parent, when our kids are driving us crazy or we’re exhausted and feeling sub-par, know that being there is what matters most.
Rookie Mama Musings: This column is published weekly on Thursdays, by Morgan Starr, right here on the Mama Lovejoy blog. Morgan Starr is a mom of three young boys who is embracing the wild ride of motherhood and learning as she goes. She’s a high school English teacher by day and a writer by night, blogging at www.rookiemommyraisingboys.com. You can keep up with her kids’ antics on Facebook and on Twitter. For more information on the Rookie Mama Musings column, please visit the Rookie Mama Musings page. If you enjoyed this article and you’d like to see more from Mama Meditations or from Mama Lovejoy, you can follow Mama Lovejoy on Facebook, or @Mamalovejoy1 on Twitter, Tumblr, Instagram and Periscope.