Last night, this house was full of people. I had planned all day for a special dinner party in honor of my son’s 20th birthday, and it was a day to celebrate, for sure. We laughed and talked around the table as we told stories of the day Grant was born, and other family members from out-of-town told some of their favorite memories as well. Dave told the kids his embellished version of how it all went down, too, which is always a good time.
But, this morning, in this quiet house, I’m celebrating a little myself. I’ve just hit 20 years of working at the best job ever. So, I’m eating cake for breakfast and reflecting on this accomplishment.
Like pretty much every new mom, I didn’t fully realize what I had signed up for that first moment they placed that little boy in my arms. But, somehow, I did know that it would be worth it.
Does anyone remember the Martha Stewart Baby magazine that she used to publish? It came out when my kids were babies and I had every issue. It had gorgeous pages filled with picture-perfect babies eating homemade baby food, wearing the most perfect outfits, surrounded by the most perfectly-designed nurseries, and celebrating the most perfectly-planned 1st birthday parties. It was all the things I dreamed motherhood was going to be before I actually had the kids. Now picture me, sitting on my couch with the magazine, laundry basket on the floor next to me, trying to find just a couple of minutes to read just one article or at least skim a few pictures, while still keeping an eye on two toddlers chasing each other in and out of the room, and then looking up to discover the older one had just cracked an egg on the head of the younger one. That was the contrast between my expectations and my reality. And, yes, that actually happened.
My point is, this job has not been what I expected it to be. It has taught me that no matter how much I had thrived as an overachiever all my life, these kids could still bring me to my knees in a matter of minutes. It has pushed me to limits I didn’t know I could reach. (And I wish I meant that in the good way!) . Like the time we had dinner on the porch and the cup of milk that had spilled twice already spilled a THIRD time in a matter of minutes and I suddenly could think of no other option than to take the cup, storm out the porch door onto the deck and hurl the cup as far as I could into the yard (which was actually probably only about 20 feet). But that didn’t matter. It felt amazing. And as I returned to the table, everyone’s eyes staring as if they had never seen the likes of the person they just witnessed, I knew I had their attention. It was mom power at it’s finest, and I will never forget that moment. (And they won’t let me.)
There’s just no job that compares to this. Yes, it’s insanely hard, and no, there is no paycheck, and true, sometimes there is no one to pat you on the back. But you have a title that compares to none other on earth: the Mom. I’ve come to realize it’s a privilege like no other that God, in His infinite wisdom, chose me to be the mom to these four specific kids. And no, I’m not perfect, but God already knew that and He entrusted me with them anyway. Wow.
So, today, I celebrate that I’ve been at this job for 20 years now. I’ve wiped a lot of noses and changed a lot of diapers and preached a lot of sermons in that time, and I’ll keep doing whatever it takes to keep these kids on the right track. I’m ready for the next 20 years. And whether you’re on Day 1 as a mom or Year 75, congratulations to you, too! Keep up the good work! You’ve got this! (Don’t forget to remind me of all this next time I hit a breaking point, okay?)
If you’d like more Mom encouragement, here are a few more posts I’ve written about motherhood over the years…