A while back I posted on Facebook something along the lines of "I could really use a break , but I can't think of anyone one I'd rather go with than my kids." It was one of those "strong feelings + Facebook = post that's not exactly what I wanted to get across" situations.
There were quite a few comments of the "Oh! You're so sweet, but mommies need breaks" variety which I totally appreciated, but they left me feeling like I didn't really say what I wanted to. Like I wasn't able to fully put my feelings into words and so I was giving the wrong impression. So people misunderstood.
I don't know. What ever it was, it left me feeling like I needed to hash those feeling out.
I'm with my kids almost 24/7. We do pretty much everything together. And I love it. We are all human and far from perfect, but I love my little family and I love that I get to be with them all the time. But I find myself surprised that they want to be with me.
Though HH knows me better than anyone else, it's my kids who see the nastiest parts of me because they are with me the most. They also challenge me the most. Nothing else in my life has left me feeling so bare and raw like motherhood has. Daily I am faced with my weakness and imperfections. And my kids have a front row seat!
Recently, after almost a solid two weeks at home due to sickness, I was getting ready to leave for a few hours for my niece's birthday party. I was going alone and was looking forward to a little break and a time to revive and refresh. Conversations with adults! Right before I left the younger three kids started crying because I was going to be leaving. "You get to spend the whole evening with your daddy and you don't get to spend very much time with him. This is a treat!"
"But Mom," Amelia said, "We don't get to spend very much time with you either!"
Seriously?!?! While it made me giggle, it brought up the same question in my heart again. They want to be with me? Still?
I know I want to be with them. I adore them. But in the back of my mind I always think they're tired of me or don't want to be around me because I make so many mistakes. I yell too much and don't play games enough. I'm selfish and distracted. I have a hard time letting them help in the kitchen and I am the main rule enforcer. The list is truly endless.
But when I thought about it, most times when I desperately need/want to get away, it's because I'm feeling inadequate and frustrated with myself. But they aren't.And this catches me off guard.
What I'm surprised by is their ability to love me despite my weakness and failings. They love me so unconditionally. And they challenge me to love them back unconditionally. Sometimes it's hard not to take their tantrums and sassing personally, and I assume they would feel the same about my imperfections.
Just so you know, I'm not saying mommas and daddies don't need breaks. I'm just realizing in my own heart, for me, there are many times where the break that I think I need is really me running from my imperfections and my frustrations with myself. But because parenting is what is bringing those personal weaknesses to the forefront, I turn and blame my children.
What I think I meant to say in that original Facebook post is that I want to run towards my kids in my raw and bare moments. I want to accept their unconditional love and I want to return it. I want to embrace my weakness and trust that God will be my strength in those moments. I want my kids to see that. I don't want to be afraid of their love.
Parenting is so very hard and there is nothing that will truly "make you ready" for it. But maybe if we open ourselves to the love and grace our little's have for us it would be just a bit easier?
Dickens said, "It is not a slight thing when those so fresh from God love us." I think he is right. And I think they can teach us how to love better if we let them.