A Motherhood Life Lesson

When my three kids were growing up I remember telling myself the things other parents experienced with their kids would never happen to me. I thought maybe this is how it is for that parent, but I'll be a completely different kind of parent. Had I been able to answer hard questions at the appropriate time, maybe I would have been able to offer my family a smoother ride.

What has my motherhood journey taught me? If could jump cut back to my early parenting years and have a talk with my younger self, I would say, “Terra you have three children and their childhood will run through your fingers like water as you lift your hand to capture a moment with the camera. In what feels like the flick of an eyelash they will be adults, miles and miles on their own. If I could step back in time I would teach my children not to fear mistakes, let them know that failure doesn't exist, and that what some people think of as failure is really only a temporary setback.

If I could walk in my younger mother shoes one more time I’d say, “Every day write down three things you adore about your children, because you will want to have this list when your kids are grown. You will want to remember and write it in their birthday cards when they turn 30 and 40.”

I would tuck notes into my pockets reminding myself—when I’m having difficulties, admit it. Line up support ahead of time. Find a good therapist before I need one. Keep my sense of humor. Whenever I can, laugh at myself.  And so what if the house is messy, again, right after I’ve cleaned it.

Every day I’d tell my children I loved them and let them know they are dear to me, even on the days when they broke curfew or the coffee pot or put a dent in the car. 

If time were returned to me I’d remember to be kind even when I was sick with a cold, had to work overtime and was in a bad mood.”

I would send myself e-mails saying, "Have more faith because one day the grief you feel about your son's death will become softer, and like a river stone in the raging water it will sooth into tender grace." 

I'd write letters to myself don't worry, but always remember one of your kids wears a raincoat on her heart, sealed in plastic, to keep out further hurt and pain. Hug her lightly and often. And don’t pay attention to what the experts say. You won’t be able to solve the bonding problems, but if you give up your notions about the way things ought to be, and allow love to grow slowly, ebb and flow like waves rolling in and out on the beach—it will.”

Most of all, I would tell myself to let go of my great expectations. To just take care of the moments and the years will take care of themselves. Because things will turn out to be better than what I mapped out and had planned, and that’s a promise.

First published in Adoption Today. © 2012 Terra Trevor. All rights reserved.