There are plenty of things that can be said about motherhood -- how it's like putting your heart in another body and watching it walk around, how it's a privilege and a blessing to be a mother. But what I want to talk about is how motherhood is not for those who require lots of emotional stroking.
Nothing takes me down a notch or two quicker than a small child who says "Mommy, do you have a baby in you belly?," when in fact there is no baby in my belly. (A large child who says that is subject to a swift kick.)
Or the kid who comes home from a sleepover raving that so-and-so's Mom is the most awesome because she a.) let them stay up all night, b.) made homemade donuts and fresh-squeezed orange juice, and c.) puts on makeup just for doing the dishes. (For the record, I totally would not be friends with so-and-so's Mom.)
No, to be a mother requires a tough outer shell. One that deflects statements like "You're wearing that to the school program?!" quicker than a Redwings goalie deflects a flying puck.
To be a mom means to have a big heart and a little ego, to practice what you preach when you say "Sticks and stones..."
Having said all that and despite popular belief, mothers are not superheros. (Though I do have at least one superhuman skill.) And sometimes a chink in my teflon armor lets a zinger through that stings a little (or a lot).
Like a few weeks ago when Annie came home from a school retreat, all excited to share the details of her day. She said one of the activities was to talk about someone who has inspired her. I could feel myself getting all warm and glowy inside, waiting to hear exactly what I had done to inspire her and grateful that she was willing to share that revelation with me, when she said, "I said that Dad has inspired me because he's had issues to work through and he has kept working on them and persevered."
I was stunned. And hurt. And quite frankly, a little angry. But I didn't tell her that. I nodded and said, "That's great. You should be sure to tell Daddy that."
But, as a good friend pointed out, it's to my credit that she is able to recognize qualities like perseverance as inspirational. And I feel pretty good about that.
Happy Mother's Day to my mom and all mothers out there. I got a diamond bracelet that I absolutely adore! Click thru to the 4th Frog Facebook page to see a picture of it.