Sometimes I feel like all I do is write about my tough mommy moments – the times when I feel tired, impatient, frustrated, insecure or frazzled. Writing for me is, after all, cathartic, a release, so I often feel compelled to write when I’m feeling low.
I also fear I too often portray my dear Madeline as being a handful when, in truth, she is a no-hassle, eager-to-please child. Sure, she’s been more prone to tantrums lately (there are a lot of changes going on in this small one’s life, namely a little sister whom she loves with all her heart but who unquestionably takes up a lot of Mommy’s time and energy) and yes, she still makes regular, nightly pilgrimages to Dave and my bedroom. But these minor drawbacks (and is it even really a drawback that my child looks to me for comfort at night? I will, no doubt, miss these nocturnal visits one day) are greatly overshadowed by all of her other qualities.
Just recently I was reminded of two traits I am the most proud of as her mommy:
• Her love for Jesus. She’s not even 3 yet, but she already loves going to Mass, praying and she understands that Jesus is very, very special. The other day I lost my cool in front of her and when we were talking about Mommy’s “tantrum” and how I’ll sometimes let her down, I reminded her that she had someone in her life who would never, ever disappoint her. “Jesus?” she asked. I was humbled by her understanding. I had told her this before quite awhile ago, but she had remembered it. We hugged and I told her I loved her. “I love you, too, Mommy,” she said. That same day I heard her singing a song I’d never heard. “The Light of Christ comes shining through,” she sang over and over while opening and closing her hands like twinkling lights. I asked her where she had learned that song and she told me that she sang it in her Catechesis of the Good Shepherd class she has during our homeschooling co-op. I always ask her what she learned after the class and she usually doesn’t say much, but I realized she’s taking it all in, including the Light of Christ. (Funny sidenote: Dave was confused by her little ditty because he thought she was singing, “I like to eat Chinese food.” Ha!)
• Her level of empathy. Last night she walked me to her bedroom door after I kissed her and told her goodnight, an important part of her bedtime ritual. She whispered, in the darkness, “When Baby Rae cries, give her some lovin’, ‘otay’? Give her a big kiss from me, too, ‘otay?’” I told her I would and then she said, “I hope your cold is better. I’ll pray for you.” My sniffles got a whole lot worse after she said this because I was dealing with tears of gratitude for this sweet, sweet child on top of my congestion.
Now it’s not my intention to turn these musings into an obnoxious example of inflated mommy hubris, but I do want to encourage all you moms (and dads!) out there to remember all those instances in your day-to-day life as a parent when your heart swells with pride and you realize that despite the many times you stumble and all the pitfalls nurturing little souls brings, you’re doing just fine.