Monday, June 8, 2015

The Battle of Mamahood

There was a time being a Mama felt like going to battle every single day.

You had to assemble all of your supplies... the diapers and the wipes and the formula and the bottles and three different outfits because the first two were destined to be covered in spit up or occasionally poop (and then there were the outfits for the baby!) Favorite toys and favorite blankies.  And then there was the wrestling them in and out of the car seat...

I thought of this yesterday, as I sat in church. I would often leave church on Sunday mornings feeling like I had been in a boxing match.

Caleb would climb up in my lap, and then climb under the pew, and I'd have to reach and grab him. He'd play with my hair and try to hold my hand and climb back up in my lap.  He'd lean over on me, as close as he could get, and then head butt me to get my attention. He never went anywhere without at least fifty cars (I am NOT exaggerating. I'm trying to decide if this meant that I spoiled him for continuing to buy them or just by packing them along... but they were a lifesaver at many a ballgame. He just didn't understand why he couldn't take up a whole pew on Sunday morning to line them up to listen to the message, After all, even Lightning McQueen needs Jesus, right?)

So, if you're a Mama, you can probably relate.

And almost thirteen years later, I still feel like I'm going to battle every single day... only this one is a verbal battle. A battle of words and wit and eye rolls and the occasionally slamming door (and yes, I still can slam doors with the best of them. Real mature, Mom...)

I have tried to choose my battles. There is no choice about going to church most Sundays, but there is a choice about what to wear, even if it kills my husband's soul. And I don't battle over bedtimes at night, but I am trying to wage a war on disrespect toward myself and others. Sometimes, I make a little ground. A lot of the time, I want to wave the white flag, but I keep on digging in. I know that God formed Caleb in my womb, and He has plans for Him that were laid in place before Caleb was even thought of. Though the battle is tough, the Bible promises that those who endure to the end shall be saved, which tells me that this battle is already won. I just have to claim the victory.  (And I don't want you to think Caleb is an awful kid... because he's not. He has a heart of gold and loves long and hard and never meets a stranger. He just sometimes cares more for strangers than he does his parents, and I'm convinced that is pretty typical for a twelve year old. At least, it was for me when I was twelve, and the kid has definitely got a lot of my genetics!)

And then there were moments like yesterday. Caleb had sat up all night long (accidentally. He really didn't mean to.  He really wanted to go to sleep. He just never quite got there.) He was in an excellent mood considering. There was no back talk on the way to church. He sat with some of his friends and was relatively quiet. Then, about halfway through the sermon, he made his way back and sat next to me. He laid his head on my shoulder and fell fast asleep.

I'd like to say that I was a tough Mama and I shook him awake, but I didn't. I just sat there, rubbing his back and feeling the rise and fall as he breathed in (and snored. I did shake him a little to get him to stop snoring). I sat there and allowed myself to go back to those days nine or ten years ago, when I'd walk out of the sanctuary sure that I was half-dressed because my skirt would be twisted and an occasional button was missing from the wrestling match that had just ensued.  I thought of chubby little arms wrapped around my neck and warm breath smelling of cheerios falling on my cheek.

Just for a minute, I paused and appreciated just how blessed I am to be Caleb's mama.

And then he woke up, grouchier than ever...

But oh, baby.  I'm still blessed.

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