When you have babies you will understand that any trip out of the house requires careful preparation. During the first few months its diapers, wipes, milk, pacifiers, burp rags, and the list goes on. At two its snacks, clean Minnie Mouse underwear, your favorite butterfly water bottle, and the armful of toys you insist on towing along.
As you get older, the tangible things you’ll need from me will become less and less. But as the things I carry lessen, your intangible needs will grow.
Motherhood is exhausting, but less complicated when you can meet every need with a bottle, clean clothes, or a band-aid. I know the challenge of motherhood that lies ahead is when you have the wounds that can’t be made better with a kiss and a Hello Kitty band-aid.
I don’t have a balm for the ache that comes when kids make fun of you because you’re too tall, or too skinny, or too shy. I can wrap my arms around you and hold you close when you endure your first heartache from a boy, but I can’t hold your heart or heal the throbbing pain in your chest. I can give you wise words, but I can’t stop you from making choices that cause you to hurt yourself, or prevent the consequences of your mistakes.
There will be a time when my advice will be the last thing you’ll want to hear. You’ll have empty places in your heart that a million of my words could never fill. My hope is one day my words will be a guiding light when your world feels dim. I’m certain that there will come a day when all you’ll want from me is a new thought or word, and you’ll only be able to sift them from memories. But when my advice fails you when you’re young, when it offers you hope and clarity as you get older, and when my silence feels like the loudest thing in the room, know that my love never, ever falters. My child, a thousand of my words, even the best and brightest, could never tell you all the ways I love you.
But my love can’t stop the world from hurting you. There’s nothing that I can carry that will stop the pain in your heart during your darkest moments or give you air when it hurts to breath. That’s why I know that although I’m tired and cranky because you didn’t sleep much last night, and you seem to find a new mess to make in every cupboard and corner…this is the easy stuff.
My prayer is that I will find the wisdom and endurance to show love and grace when you make messes of your life. I already know I will find ways to fail you at every turn because I’m only human, so my greatest prayer is that you will know that while I’m the one holding your hand for a short while, He is the one that holds you in His hands always.