Thursday, May 12, 2011

Mama Strength

Today is a kooky day in a choppy crazy week.  I mean, today's parenting had me looking at the clock at 6:38 a.m. and thinking, "I'm done. Uh-oh. I've used up all my parenting goodness already, holy mackerel."

But of course, I wasn't.
Not by a long shot.


Not much later, I went to the school Mass and my sweet Emmy came to sit by me.  Ah, bliss.
After, I got to canoodle with the small boys and touch base after a very tough morning with a wild Little Man...and bump noses to remind him that I loved him "to the moon and back" before he went back to classes. 

Minutes later my eldest called - ebullient - to tell me that he was finished with college, he had finished; all undergrad classes, work, exams, the whole shebang - done.  We whooped it up together on the phone and I told him I was proud of him for a job well done.
A bit later, my other college frosh son called to tell me he was done in another way: drained and depleted with one hard final left to go.  So, tips and encouragement and prayers for him.
Exactly as I was hanging up, an email came in from Marta's teacher giving me a heads up about a meltdown at school and incoming home this afternoon; change just throws this girl under the bus.  Tears there, tears to be here.  Oh dear....and a little bit/lots of dread.
In between all of these were moments, of course, of other mundane mom-job stuff, tending and caring for the bodies and household stuff......and all of it seemed pretty routine.

 And then I read this post of a dear girl/um, friend.   She writes of needing to go to Ethiopia soon, to court for her next child.  To do so, she has to leave her first sweet boy.  And it takes her breath away.  Oh, just reading those words I can conjure up those feelings from doing that very same thing.  I had to leave my small boys to go across the world to bring home my child.  Twice! One of those times was to get one of those small boys {the one who jumped me after Mass while I was hugging his sister}.
And I remembered back to that feeling and those panic attacks and that breathless feeling.  It's awful.  But....I also remembered what came with that.
Mama strength.


It is the strength that we build as moms, in the doing of our everyday tending body and soul of these kids....it builds mom muscle.
That mom strength is resolute in it's willingness to do what needs to be done for her kid.  
Even if it is gaspingly hard.
Even if it is wearisome, tedious, or....dreadful, we will do it.
If it is skittley, or tap dancing happy, or peaceful,  we will do it. 
If it is sorrowful, grief-stricken, we will be there, we will do it.
If it is irritating, tiresome, frustrating, we do it.
If it is funny, or quirky or weird, we do it.
We do what needs to be done; from threading belts through pantloops to pouring juice, from listening through gulping tears to counting down a timeout.
We sit through meltdowns, we endure raging spewing and bottomless grief.
We read, we research, we get status reports by phone on classes and roommates.

We hope, we dream, we pray.
We cook, we clean, we counsel.
We drive, oh, how we drive.


We fly across the world with our hearts lurching up, unable to speak for the love that chokes our words. 
We stand in the gap, or, really, next to the fridge and sink, and we are strong.

I forget that...oh many many days.
It might seem that the strength is only on the good days, but I say it's not.
We only SEE it and feel it on the good days.
But it's there, we've built it in a million uncounted exercises of our heart and body.  To use common fitness parlance; it's our core.  It's mama strength.  It builds on itself in a magical kind of way and draws deep.  It is as real as real is; too bad it doesn't look like a six-pack {abs, people…ok?} or better in a bikini.  But I'd say it's more beautiful, all the same. 

"Old Mother Stitching" by Jurij Subic, 1855-1890

5 comments:

Shonda said...

beautiful words. truly.

Jen said...

beauitful and profound! Your mama strength is herculean. I admire it!

lisa said...

im going to print this out and post it on my med cabinet. i am weary today and didnt want to get up. this and my little wounded girl make me want to keep getting up out of the mud and brushing us both off. thank you, lisa

Rosary.Devotee said...

It is truly incredible how a mother can gather up all her strength, surpass any struggles, and overcome any burden for the love of her child. I didn't realize this when I was still single but now that I have my own daughter to raise, I salute each woman who stays up all night waiting for their kid to go to sleep and multi-taks everyday without asking anything in return.

Rosary.Devotee said...

It's incredible how mothers gather their strength, surpass any problem, and overcome fear, for the love of their children. I didn't realize this before when I was still single but now that I have my own daughter to raise, I understand the depth of a mother's love. I salute all the mothers who multi-tasks everyday without asking anything in return.