There are so few parenting moments in which I think . . . “Yeah. That was spot-on. They should write books about what I just said.”
But the other day while we were driving to preschool, I had one. My only regret was the lack of a rolling camera to capture my shining moment.
So as we were driving along in our swagger wagon, late as usual, me feeling a bit cranky because I need every last second of my boys being at preschool, the three of us began to talk about swimming this summer.
Samuel was expressing, rather boastfully so his non-swimming brother could hear, how excited he is to swim in the shallow end of the pool because he can now swim all by himself.
All three of my children have an intense fear of the deep-end. I could stand on my head and sing “I’m A Yankee Doodle Dandee” backwards in an attempt to get them to understand if they can swim in the shallow, they can swim in the deep and they still won’t be convinced.
“Buddy, if you can swim in the shallow end it doesn’t matter how deep the water is,” I explain for oh, I don’t know, maybe the 10,005th time this year.
Fixing those lashes and that killer dimple right on me, he unapologetically disagrees.
“Yes, buddy, you can. It’s all in your mind. You get scared and you start to think about it too much and before you know it, you’re like Peter when he walks on water and sinks when he takes his eyes off of Jesus,” I retort, beginning to be amazed by my stellar parenting prowess.
He’s silent. He’s digesting. I think I’m finally getting through. I proceed.
“And you know what, bud? Who controls fear?” I ask. “Is it from God?”
“No,” he answers thoughtfully. I’m nailing this.
“That’s right. When we choose to not do something because we’re scared we aren’t giving God enough credit. There are many things I do that scare me but I step-out in courage and He always delivers,” I add.
Quiet. Thoughtful. Gazing out the window. Spencer listens intently, too. I’m rockin’ it.
After a hushed five minutes, he declares, “I’m still gonna wear my water wings.”
And just like that, my big moment, the one time when I was even impressed by my own parenting, was shot down in a blaze of glory.
Thank God there weren’t any cameras.
Which, come to think of it, is how I feel about most events in my everyday life.
I’m so not the mom I thought I would be. I really did envision myself as the kind of mother who would do crafts around the kitchen table, which is completely hysterical when you think of the fact that I actually hate crafts.
I’m not sure why I thought I would one day do crafts with my children, as if this Fairy Godmother from Jo-Ann Fabrics would descend upon me and bless me with the crafting knowledge of what to do with a flippin’ pompom and a glue gun.
I also thought I would do all kinds of homeschooling types of stuff without really homeschooling. Like, since I’m a former Title One teacher, actually teaching my children to read.
It’s a good day when we get a book read. It makes me cringe to write this but it’s the cold-hard truth.
But you know what I think I do at least good enough?
I love those children with a fierceness that makes it clear to them they’re a priority. I give good hugs. I go to their soccer games and swim lessons and school programs and class parties and I take pictures and sit with tears brimming my eyes because wasn’t it just yesterday they descended from my womb?
There are many areas in which I lack mothering skills. There are many of my lessons I teach which I think are amazing and end-up embarrassingly ineffective. There is so much I thought I would do as a mom but now accept that I won’t ever.
So I just trust He knew what He was doing when He picked me to be their mother – deep end and all.
How do your kids keep you humble? What are your strengths as a mother?