Mother's Kiss - Mary Cassatt
Am I doing this whole mom thing, right? Sometimes I wonder.
I am constantly having to purge my idealistic view of how I was going to raise my child. Turns out, tactics don't work the same every time. Turns out, it's not a cute puppy-person I'm training to do tricks and not pee in the house, it's actually a real human being--another person, complete with individual thoughts, opinions, logic, understanding, imagination, likes, dislikes... the list goes on.
Did I know this before Salem came into my world? I don't think so. I heard moms talk about these things and nod and agree and complain and tell stories together, and I thought I knew better. Oh, they're just too impatient. They complain too much. When I'm a mom, I won't be like that. That's exactly what I thought.
But each day, my beautiful little girl teaches me that being a mom is more about teaching and training me than it is her. I can't just scoop a small serving of whatever I have a fancy to make for dinner and expect her to eat every bite without a word. I can't even make her do that. Believe me, I've tried. And when I've had a long, exhausting day and can't wait to just sit down and do something non-child related, I can't just put her in bed, shut the door, and expect that she will go to sleep. Sometimes, I have to lay next to her and rub her back and sing songs for an hour or two before I can leave. And sometimes, it doesn't even work.
What I'm trying to say is that being a mom is not easy. It's not always fun. But it's good. And I know that what I'm doing is important. Because when that little girl grows up, perhaps she will be a little less afraid of trying new things because she had a mom who invested hours trying to convince her that broccoli was not a bad thing. Maybe she'll have a child of her own and when they can't sleep, she'll lay down next to them and sing those songs she didn't always understand, but knew every word and tone like it was born inside of her.
Maybe she'll be able to look back at those times and forgive me for all of the other times I hurt her, and know that I really did love her. Maybe she'll be able to forgive herself when she falls short of being the perfect woman or mom, herself.