Almost three years ago I started my little book of mini-essays, maternal meditations, if you will. As much as I’d like to think I’ve climbed some mountain of achievement as I have filled the last pages, I realize I’m still in the foothills. My kids aren’t yet teenagers. I’m sure those years will warrant their own book of assurances! I still see and hear my mothers and grandmothers worrying about their children, welcoming them back into their homes, living daily into their role of mother, a.k.a. friend, confidante, nurse, shoulder, financier, comedienne, etc.
Looking hard at my current situation, my husband and I conclude that we don’t focus enough quality time on the kids. It’s hard. We are but two, they are four. We both like to be involved in our community. I like to keep a tidy house. The kids only really like to do things if it’s their own idea, even our toddler.
Yet another realization sets in, as lessons seem to be coming at me hard and heavy these days. I’ve never wanted to have kids that resent me because I was too busy working on this or that or too adamant about keeping the house clean. While I’m not likely to let go of the minimal cleanliness we have going around here, I know I cannot take on any more projects. Any thoughts I have of going back to school or working in any way outside the home will have to wait at least another three or four years. Right now I need to be the mother I say I am, the mother I want to be.
“I’m just a mother,” I usually say when people ask what I “do.” After all, I don’t want to make them feel bad for not volunteering as much as I do, and I don’t want to make them feel bad for not spending more time with their kids. But if I am to validate myself, devote more time to my kids, make my writing time spare and intense, then I shall declare, “I’m a mother of four exceptional children” (as my husband describes them). If others offer that look of “oh, that’s all?” then I shall ask if what they are doing is having as great of an influence on the next generation as nurturing four souls. I’d like to think I would, anyway.
My gift, my charge, is maternal responsibility. Being a good mother for my children now will only make me a better person later, no matter what I do when I get older . . . when I grow up. 🙂 Besides, don’t I always say that life is all about living in the moment?
When we go on vacation, I don’t like to be the one behind the camera — not because I want to be in all the photos but because I want to experience the real thing, photos or no. May I be blessed enough to offer my kids the real thing. May there be something, some way for me to be for my children a window to the Divine. What greater responsibility is there?