I sat cross-legged on the floor. The news had been a blow to my 15 yr. old self. A boyfriend, a party, another girl, betrayal. I had enough perspective and self concept to know that this was not the end of my world, but it still stung. I don’t remember much about that situation other than my mom. Sitting quietly beside me, arms slung over my shoulders, was the woman who provided life to me at birth, and strength throughout my years.
These were the same arms that scratched my back at night, cooked meals so that our family could eat together, drove me to countless soccer practices, scratched out math problems to help me learn tough concepts, and folded Mt.Everest sized piles of laundry. Day after day my mom used her arms to comfort, build, serve, help, and provide.
Eventually she would use those same arms to cradle my own children. I see them looking to swing from her strong branches as I did, knowing it is safe to lean on an Oak.
My mom was not perfect. In fact, we laugh at some of the stories of her not so shining moments. I find these especially funny now that I’m a parent and see the same moments in my mothering journey. Those times when rational thought is dropped at the curb and insanity starts driving the bus.
But perfection is not the goal and never was. My mom was an exceptional mom because she gave it all she had. She was there. She SHOWED UP. Day after day after day, she provided for each need at hand, whether that was washing sheets or comforting a hurting heart.
I falter more than I’d like to admit as a mom. Yet, it is in this lack that I find unusual strength.
2 Corinthians 12:9 says, “My grace is all you need. My power is made great in weakness.”
If I’m striving for perfection in mothering, disappointment and failure are guarantees. Instead, I report to duty every day, salute my God and say, “I’m here. I’ll give it my best. But have my back.” And I believe He does. I’m trusting God to fill in my gaps and cover my inadequacies in my parenting.
Being a great mom is not a formula. It’s a rhythm. It’s a moment by moment tuning of the violin to match the tenor of our children.
The next time you cross an item off of your grocery list for dinner, place a band-aid on a wounded knee, or sit cross legged with an arm draped around your child, remind yourself that though imperfect, you showed up and gave your best in that moment. And that’s enough. In fact, over time, God takes our seeds of enough and plants the oak of exceptional.