Do you ever have those moments?
You know the kind...? Moments when you are knocked over by a wave of surrealism.
The other night I had a moment.
My daughter was lying asleep in my arms. The love in my heart was consuming me....but in the recess of my mind, another emotion began slipping up on me.
It felt like a million emotions whirled into one: Anxiety, Disbelief, Love, Adoration, Inadequacy, Depression, Pride, Doubt, Fear.....you name it.
You see, in the moment that I was lying her down in her bed, while she was peacefully asleep for the night, I couldn't help but be overcome by a single thought, "I am a MOTHER!?!"
Now, I realize that you might be thinking that I have had over 6 years to come to terms with this. It isn't anything new. I mean, come on, I have been a mother for some time.
For that matter, I was mothering my sister long before I ever had kids.
However, in that moment I felt like a kid, playing the role of a mom. It happens occasionally. The thoughts consume me....
Who am I? A mother, daughter, sister, wife, child....
How did I get here?
I can't possibly be a 33 year old WOMAN with a husband and two kids!
Where did the years go?
When did I decide that I had what it takes to be a mom?
How did this happen?
(OK, OK, I realize HOW it happened....)
However, the inadequacy that was welling up in me was so overwhelming I had to fight off tears. In that moment I felt crushed by everything I didn't know about being a mom. I didn't have the all the right answers...I didn't do all the right things.... I am unsure about every decision I make.
It was scary.
How could I be in charge of this life? And my children....they never even question my charge. Or me.
I thought of all the questions that had been asked of me over the last six and a half years. Questions as simple as "What's that?" to as big as "Who is God?". My answer, when given, was accepted as, well, the "Gospel".
How could my children place this much faith in me? Can't they see that I am STILL, at 33 years of age, figuring out the answers. Can't they see I am a fraud?
The fear and anxiety followed the tears. How could they not see through me and see everything I lack?
I was shaken. I mean, when I thought about it, really, really thought about it, I realized that the answers I believed, the answers I held onto as the utmost truth, were given to me by my mother.
My mother. A wife at the age of 18 and a mom at the age of 21. My mother. The one I went to with questions big and small and as a child, her answers I never doubted. At such a young age there was definitely no way that she had the CORRECT answers to all the questions I had..... Yet I believed.
Could all that I have built myself on be as insecure as the foundation that I apparently am giving my kids?
Because, seriously, what do I know? Sometimes I stumble through this life I have been given.
All of the peace, contentment and firmness in faith I felt as a child came into question in that moment.
There are very few things that I feel that I can answer without a shadow of a doubt. And almost unfailingly, the ones that truly, ultimately matter don't fall into that category.
I hope that in the end, what will matter, is that I love my children with every fiber of my being. It is in loving my children that 'stumbling through life' becomes transformed into running, jumping and skipping through life. It is with childlike abandon that I love them. Wrong, right or somewhere in between - I always do what I think is the best at that moment. Or at least I try to.
I hope that as their living 'moral compass' I am pointing them in the direction that they are intended to go. I know that more often than not, I practice the "do as I say, not as I do" method of parenting.... Another evidence of my lack of answers, experience and 'know-how'.
Despite all of this, I hope that my children find peace in my love. Maybe it is because they are blind to my individual insecurities that they are able to see my love clearly. If peace is not found in the answers, then at least, at the very least, in the love.
I hope that I can continue to find peace in knowing that my mother did the same and although, as an adult, when I question some of her "answers", I cling to the realization that she did the best she could with the knowledge and experience she had been given. She has surely faced the same kind of doubt and insecurity that sometimes swallows me....but in the end what matters, or at least I pray is what matters, is that she pushed aside her own insecurity and doubts and gave me the best love she could.
Her best. My best.
That is, after all, all any of us can do.