It wasn’t a deep meaningful conversation.
I don’t even know her well. We were just chatting, watching our kids interact. You know how moms can have nothing in common, but talk about everything, sharing the thread of motherhood…
I don’t really know what she believes or what she dreams of or if we’ll ever talk again.
But I will never forget her words.
She looked at me and asked, “Do you know what your kids really want from you?”
Cell phones, I said and laughed.
This mother looked in my heart and her eyes filled, “We spend a lot of time trying to figure out what our kids want and need in this life.”
I thought of how often I try and figure out what’s really wrong. When my kids were babies I spent countless hours and gobs of energy trying to discern hunger from exhaustion. Now that they are older, it’s such an emotional relationship. How do I help them with their friends? She is hurting, what can I do? He needs confidence, how do I instill it? The questions are endless.
I waited for her answer.
“Your kids want you.”
“When they say ‘Mom, watch me’, they just want you. When the pull you away from your current distraction, it’s you they want.”
And then the conversation was over. But the awakening in my heart had just begun.
There was such freedom and conviction in her words. My kids don’t need to me fix their problems, they don’t need me to provide more stuff or help them try and keep up with everyone else. How often do they just want me to stop what I’m doing and pay attention? Be present in the moment.
They need me, but even more, they need Him. I need Him because this mothering thing is awesome and hard.
When I look back, I won’t remember the days. I will remember the moments. And I’m thankful for that because there are days I don’t want to remember!
I want to remember the drive on the way to school this morning. The way she laughed. The moment she opened up and shared her heart. The way our hearts connected. The rest of the day-the eye rolls and loud sighs-the ups and downs that have already come, are just part of this job.
Instead of asking myself Is her room clean? Did he ace that test? I’m asking: Did I connect with them in a way that I will remember 20 years from now? Did I listen when she called my name four times? Did our hearts meet for a brief moment? Did he know that even when I couldn’t fix the problem, I was there?
Because the hard days, the challenges in this mothering thing are a given. They are at every turn and easy to find. It’s the connected moments I want to look for, the treasured seconds when we stopped everything and just love each other–that’s what I want to capture.
This Mother’s Day, I’m giving myself a gift. I’m letting go of some of the pressure and the guilt and the “I should haves.” I have one goal: to connect with my children on a heart level every day.
The rest is gravy.