Tuesday, March 4, 2014
Behind the Scenes :: Good Job
What I didn’t always know is how much being a mother would change me – rather – keep me in a constant state of being changed. Changed. Wrung out. Exhilarated. Exhausted. Overwhelmed. Over the moon. There are times it feels as if I am on evolutionary fast forward: being asked to alter and adapt to circumstances and situations that overlap and intertwine with the seamlessness of a bird’s feathers – just one smooth, shimmering coat of “I can’t keep up” and we’re off in flight on the next adventure.
As an oldest child and type-A to boot, I have grueling expectations of myself, and am often awake at night replaying the scenarios; analyzing (overanalyzing?) everything to the enth degree to wonder how to do it better. I worry about the fine line between an overwhelming love that satisfies and an overbearing obsession that stifles. I fear that I am letting too much go and yet still fight against letting too much in. I aim to instill confidence and self-reliance, while balancing that with the ultimate reliance on a God who knows best and sees all. I pray that I am living a message with my life that illustrates everything I hope and dream for my daughter.
I also cry. A lot. Often. With a vengeance and a fury. Because I am constantly of the mind that I am not getting it done. Despite all the books and blogs, adages and advice, wisdom and winnowing of the things in my life that must go, I am certain that I am not doing it right.
I think every mother who loves their child sincerely and passionately spends an inordinate amount of time thinking they’re not getting it done right. Despite evidence to the contrary: the lunches we make, the projects we help on, the homework we support and encourage through, the lessons we chauffer to, the laundry we do (and do, and do, and do), the meals we make, the tears we dry – surely all of that counts for something?
When do we know that we’ve got it – that we’ve done it right? What kind of affirmation does it take to let us pause for a moment and release a long-delayed exhale?
For me, it came the other morning on my daughter’s door. She has a small white board double-taped there. It often reads “danger” or “keep out” or posts other warnings of serious intent. Every once in a while, I remember to doodle something encouraging on there. Not about danger.
After a good night of staying focused and getting her work done, I spent a few moments the following morning doodling vines, flowers, spirals, and hearts around the bubbly words “Good Job on your homework.” Nothing fancy. I just wanted her to know that I knew what an effort she’d made.
She loved it and let me know; her smile warming its way into my heart the way it always does. A couple of mornings later, the smile was back as she bounced into my room and asked: “Mama, have you seen the sign yet?” I blinked guiltily and had to admit I hadn’t looked at it since I left her the note the other morning. She hugged me and pulled me down the hall. “I wanted you to see this,” she announced with a grin.
I had to blink for a minute – there I go – crying again. She had modified the note that I’d left her. The vines and flowers were gone. The ubiquitous “Do Not Enter” was back in the corner. But “Good Job” was still there in large bubble letters. And below, in her best imitation of the way I’d written to her, she’d added “on parenting.”
I'm linking up with Crystal Stine and company again today; joining the Behind the Scenes link up (now on the first Tuesday of each month) – where we show those photos – but tell the real story behind them. The sneak peek behind the scenes, a look past the edges of the photo to the real life behind it.
I'd love to connect with you some more - stop on by the Three Bees Facebook Page or connect with me on Twitter @3BeesBlueBonnet. Let's continue the conversation!