If I were to choose an icon of motherhood right now while my children are six and two, it would be an emblem of a little hand giving me a Kleenex tissue. And you know what? I accept that tissue. I accept it even while running for the trash can, holding it gingerly. Whether it is soggy and snot filled, or stained with blood from my son pricking his fingers to check his blood sugar, that tissue means my little ones trust me. They know I will help, even though it is gross, and tedious. Even when I have had to wipe two little noses more times than I have had chances to sit down.
Sometimes it feels like all I do is accept dirty tissues, pick up stinky socks, check blood sugar, count carbs, and wipe bottoms. There are days when it seems I only take care of the odorous, messy, sticky, slimy side of my family. And it can begin to feel as if that is all I will ever do. But I chose this.
As grossed out and frustrated as I am sometimes, I am encouraged by glimpses of the future. My guidance as a mother is helping my children grow and learn. Sunshine learned to use the potty. More snotty tissues are put into the trash by little hands instead of being dropped on the floor or shoved into my hands, after countless (and as patiently worded as I can muster) reminders. Grasshopper has learned how to check his own blood sugar, how to give himself insulin with our supervision, and he is learning to read nutrition labels. My job as a mother is to care for my children while also teaching them to care for themselves. Whatever other jobs I will have in my life, this is my vocation. And even when I mess up, when I let my frustration, anxieties and anger get the best of my behavior, I have to remember that they are learning by watching me.
If I want to raise my little ones to be kind, patient, helpful, prayerful, strong, wise… well, then, I’m going to need some help because I’m not all that! I’m going to need lots of prayer. And lots of Kleenex.
If you are a mother, what would you choose as your symbol of motherhood at this point in your life?