I have a new friend. I believe God plopped her right next to me on that plane for a reason. We talked solid for two hours and 25 minutes sharing intimate details of our lives, barely coming up for air. The flight attendant had to interrupt us when she passed out the snacks, and we hugged goodbye as we parted toward our separate connecting flights. Crazy, right? I bet the girl trying to nap against the window in our row was SO annoyed! But this woman was just such a “perfect” stranger!
Here were my initial impressions and what drew me instantly to her:
- She was confident and self-assured.
- She was deeply rooted in her faith.
- She was an amazing mom to her four boys loving them fiercely but giving them room to grow.
We’ve stayed in touch (again a little crazy, I know), and yesterday she messaged me.
“Sending my eldest to college in 7 days. About has literally made me ill. Years flew by, and I was hanging on with all my might!!! I’m full of pride, and full of guilt. Inadequacies surface in us moms at these milestones.”
To which I replied, “College. I can’t even imagine. And here’s the thing…put that guilt away. He grew up with a mom who loves him to the ends of the earth. Maybe not perfect, right? But I can just imagine your home was full of love and fun and mistakes and forgiveness and laughter and grace. And I just bet he is ready to go out and live his adult life with all those beautiful tools tucked in his pocket…ready to take on this wonderfully imperfect world. And I just know he will have the world’s best cheerleader watching and cheering him on for the rest of his life…his mom!”
I meant every word.
But I couldn’t help thinking…what about me? Don’t I do this? Don’t all of us do this?
We look past all the amazing, beautiful things we’ve done for these little people we’ve been blessed with and we wonder if it was enough. Am I enough? Am I a good mom? Is he going to be okay? Was any of it enough?
At the end of the day we forget about the meals we provided and clean clothes. We forget about the endless books over and over and the LONG game of monopoly. We forget about the eye contact and interested face we mustered at a not so interesting story. We pushed on the swings and wiped the bottom and drove to practice after practice and lovingly tucked in with kisses. But we go to bed thinking about how we were short-tempered during teeth brushing. Or how we ‘just a minute’-ed or ‘not right now’-ed several times today. We notice the laundry mountain and littered toys and tick off all the things we didn’t get done today.
I need to work on this. I need to let things go. I need to look for all the love and fun and mistakes and forgiveness and laughter and grace.
I bet you do too!!!
So, here’s my kind-of mom success story from yesterday.
Dan was out of town so I was single-mommin’ it since Thursday. Isaiah had a basketball tournament that was somewhere between 45 minutes and 2 hours away depending on traffic. He had several games Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. This was an extra tournament the team wanted to do for fun, and the regular coach was out of town so we had a Dad volunteer.
A very serious Dad volunteer.
Now. Basketball is Isaiah’s sport. He loves it. He wants to be a professional basketball player one day. This is a GOOD team with some VERY talented kids. But Isaiah has been at the gym all summer. Practicing hard and taking extra one-on-one coaching sessions. The boy can shoot, and he is a smart player. But the one thing he lacks is confidence. He gets in the game and immediately looks nervous. I wish he could play knowing how skilled he actually is!
I bet you can see where this is going.
Long story short, we drove back and forth five games. And he played only a few minutes of each game all weekend. In the last game, the championship, I watched him sink lower and lower in his seat as it became clear he wasn’t even going to play at ALL.
As I looked at him across the court, defeated, all I could see was my baby, my little boy, hurting, humiliated, demoralized.
My blood boiled. I have never been so angry at a kids’ sporting event in my life. I wanted to march over there to give that volunteer Dad coach a piece of my mind!!!
But after the game you know what I saw my son do? After the little team huddle and debriefing he walked right over and shook that coach’s hand. He THANKED him for coaching this weekend. Then he turned and walked out of the gym, tears welling.
WHAT?! I was flabbergasted. I was floored. I was beyond proud.
He waited until we were in the car before he erupted. Tears of frustration.
Guess what his mom had to say? Not the it’s okay…keep trying buddy…next time…you keep practicing. Nope. I think my exact words were, “You know what Isaiah? FUCK HIM!!!! You are a good basketball player and you deserved your time to play on that team”…followed by a 20-minute rant loaded with expletives!!
I think he was a little shocked.
Then I gave him a turn. To speak his mind. To cry. To vent his frustrations. To call that coach a “fucking jackass cracker.” Wow.
My goodness. Our car was howling with laughter!! We ate our Subway cookies leftover from lunch, popped in Boss Baby for the ride home, and tried to think of all the swear words that rhymed with that coach’s name. I will never forget it!
You know what I hope he learned?
- Life is hard.
- Sometimes we fail.
- Sometimes things aren’t fair.
- But we pick up, we learn from it, we keep trying, we move forward.
- His mom loves him to the ends of the earth!!!
- And sometimes the perfectly stated F-bomb helps let off a little steam!!
Our car was so full of love and fun and mistakes and forgiveness and laughter and grace. Just like I envision it is at my new friend’s house (minus the swearing). I sure hope he tucks that little memory right in his pocket. Yep, I think yesterday was JUST ENOUGH!!