OH. Now I get it. I’m a MOM. Thought so.

You know what's cool?

It's when you suddenly realize that the kid who could NOT sit still for any formal event is now not only sitting quietly, but enjoying the events and even laughing at the jokes. It's when you remember that you haven't had to bring skittle-bribery or threaten the stapling of all his belongings to the bedroom floor to get the kid to zip his lips for half an hour. It's when you get home and he regales you with his favorite moments from the speech and you never even had to tell him that you'd give him 10 extra minutes of reading time when you tuck him in that night if he can tell you two things one of the speakers said. And he tells you he wants to go again.

Do you want to know something else?

It's pretty nice when your other kid comes home from college and you are stewing over something and she notices and asks about it and then proceeds to give you better advice than anything you ever told her during the entire 20.145 years leading up to that moment. Plus she did it with a smile. And you understand in that moment that she is going to be a better mom than you were. But you don't feel too bad, because she had to have gotten at least a little bit of a boost from you. And she nods and pats your hand in all seriousness and says, "Yeah, mom."

Another great moment?

It's when you watch your child rehearse a play she is in and she knows all her lines and her blocking, and not only that but she's really good, and you didn't have to spend endless hours dragging her through the script to help her memorize it, or listen to her worries about being good enough or have to deliver Lecture #87 about commitment and seeing things through and not quitting when it gets a little boring or less fun or stressful. And it's all because the kid took care of it herself. Painlessly. And did I mention that she's good? And she's doing the same thing with school?

And then there's the moment when your son puts together a New Year's party himself, and asks actual girls out on actual dates, when the entire year before he would have died a thousand deaths before doing either one of those things, and your suggestions would have been met with baleful stares that would burn holes in your shirt if you didn't move out of their trajectory. Plus, he treats his dates and friends with respect, defends them if he thinks anything remotely critical is being said about them, rushes ahead to open the door for you, the mother, and tells you he wishes you could go ice skating with the church youth group because you're fun.


So like, all those years of staying up all night, and getting callouses on my knees from asking heaven how the heck to deal with this kid, and all the talks where I barely-but-not-always held my frustration back, and the shock when I realized that one kid-shoe does not fit all kids, and raising your kid only means you know how to raise THAT kid, and you have to figure out the same things for all the others–and all the years of getting thrown up on, and having your kid say they hate you because they know you love them and they are safe with you and they wouldn't say it to anyone else so the "I hate you" really means "I love you so I can be this frustrated and tell you I hate you and you won't throw me out. Which, did I mention? Means I love you."–ALL of that was totally worth it.

Oh, I get it. THIS is motherhood.

All right.


About Janiel 433 Articles
I have managed to keep the same husband for nearly three decades, and the same four children for almost that long - although one or two of them say it has been much longer. I have been writing since I learned to hold a pencil, and trying to make people laugh even longer. I hope to do some good in the world before I go the way of it. And if not, I'd better at least get to visit Ireland.


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