Mothers are Hypocrites
And children are our biggest mirrors.
If you haven't actually used the words do as I say, not as I do, surely you've heard them. As much as I hate to admit it, becoming a mother helped me understand this saying more than I would prefer.
With our 8-year-old son still at an age of unlimited energy, he is also at that age; the tender stage of transition between still cuddling in our arms at night and telling us how exceptionally lame we are in the morning. Perhaps not in those words, but suffice it to say that he feels far more intelligent than his parents and many days, it is common for me to waiver from you're the sweetest boy in the world to I'm raising a monster within minutes.
I never realized how little I knew about myself until I became a mother. I never knew I could change a dirty diaper at 3 a.m. without vomiting, fight off midnight monsters with my stories, or that my two arms are capable of carrying a load for four.
Becoming a mother changes a lot. But it doesn’t change everything.
Of all the lessons we try to teach our child, those I hold with highest importance are the lessons I am still trying to learn myself.
I always tell him I love you just the way you are, but fight my own reflection in the mirror.
I promise my son anything is possible, while tightly holding hands with hopelessness.
I remind him to stay true to and believe in himself, while I struggle with my own self-esteem.
I remind him to always try his best and to never-ever give up, while I raise my white flag in the air.
As it turns out, children are capable of teaching us too and there are times when he catches me off-guard with a lesson of my own.
This Mother’s Day was one such example. Sunday, May 14th was a special morning with cards, flowers, and a little extra sugar to remind me I’m loved. But it was after his Sunday school class when I received the following:
Lesson number one came with the first line as tears welled in my eyes.
But it was No. 4 that knocked me off my feet.
I like that you will write books.
I haven’t yet shared with you all of my writing dreams. Or my writing struggles. I have, however, shared some of them with my son. I want him to know that parents have dreams too. I want him to know that finding your passion is important at any age. And, as difficult as it is, I want him to see that sometimes you have to work really, really hard to make them come true.
The part I haven’t yet taught myself is how to keep going in the face of severe disappointment and what he doesn’t know is the rejection I have experienced, while completely normal for a writer, has been dream-crushing.
I have learned for myself none of the lessons I’m trying to teach him and in recent months have experienced some of my darkest moments of hopelessness. I haven’t believed in myself. I haven’t believed that anything is possible. And I haven’t even stayed true to who I am in the process.
I like that you will write books.
His words simultaneously woke me up and healed my wounds. My 8 year-old is proud of the fact his mother wants to write books. Even more, he believes I will.
This is the conversation we had a day after the launch of this site:
Me: Did you know that mommy now has a web site for my writing?
Son: Really?! You mean one you can go on?!
Son: (with a smile that could light the world on fire) Are you going to be an author?
What I cannot bear to tell him is - I really don’t know.
Some days, I struggle to even hope.
So, for now, all I can say is: I’m trying, Buddy. I’m trying my best.