I have always been a young mom.
Young in age and young at heart.
When I would plan birthday parties for my oldest child, I would plan them at a place where I could have fun too. As a young twenty-something mother, my bones and my back would still allow me to climb to the top of the play area and slide down with my preschooler in my lap.
Later, I was overjoyed when I discovered that my elementary-aged daughter could drink hot chocolate while I sipped coffee and together we poured over magazines in the Barnes and Noble Café.
When she graduated from the sixth grade and I served as a parent chaperone for the evening, I had a good time right along with her when she hit the dance floor. I thought the kids were laughing with me but maybe in retrospect they were laughing at me.
Young in age and young at heart, I prided myself on being the fun mom.
That was then.
This is now.
With time, with age, and with more kids, I still like to have fun but it has became evident to me that my kids wanted me to be more than just fun.
Sometimes they wanted me to be like all the other moms.
I’ll never forget the first time that one of my children compared me to the mother of one of their friends. “Look at the dessert ‘so and so’s mom’ made for our class party”. This was a statement made to compare my basic brownies-made-from-the-box to the custom-made-cupcakes the Mom who loved to bake had brought.
Then there was the mom who cried when it was time for her daughter to leave on the senior cruise. Apparently only good moms cry when they have to be separated from their children for a week and I didn’t really love my daughter if I didn’t have Kleenex in my hand as I waved goodbye.
And let me not forget the mother who was able to attend every single game and attend the entire tournament for all of the season of sports from elementary school through high school without being interrupted with a phone call, having to miss a game to tend to another child, or take days off of work.
Sometimes my kids have made me feel that the mom I am – the non-crafty, slightly unemotional, working, and bake-out-of-the-box – is not enough.
But I have the vantage point of having two kids that have reached adulthood and one of them has just recently had her own first child.
When I asked her what I could do to help her as a first time mom freshly home from the hospital with her newborn, she said, “Mom, just come and let’s hang out, watch movies, talk, and spend time having fun together."
I thought that maybe she wanted me to make gourmet meals or help make a baby scrapbook or help her decorate a room, or be next to her every second of the day.
She just wanted me. The mom who would make her some popcorn, grab a Redbox, and make sure that we had the best blanket covering both of our toes to keep them warm…. while sipping cups of hot chocolate.
She wanted me. The mom who would lean over and watch videos on social media and laugh hysterically, even if every now and again I had to pause to send an email for work.
She wanted me. The fun mom who would volunteer to run out for an Oreo blast from Sonic at 12:36 am because that’s exactly what you should have when you are going without sleep to nurse a brand new baby.
And she wanted me, the mom who does all the silly dancing and noise making necessary to rock that baby to sleep.
Did I cook for her? Sure. But it wasn’t gourmet and she was perfectly content with dessert coming out of a cookie dough roll.
Did I help with the crafty little baby book? Yes. I contributed the pens and a few pictures. She’s way more crafty than me so I just decided to support and celebrate her in her giftedness.
Was I totally uninterrupted? No, I was able to come and be with her for more than a weekend because I could bring work with me and get things done while she napped or while the baby nursed.
Did I cry? Honestly, after being with her for a few days, I did tear up when I was hugging her goodbye, but the tear didn’t fall.
And she told me later she was glad I hadn’t cried or else she would have cried and then been a blubbering mess after I left their house.
She wanted me.
Your children need you. The mom you are. The way God designed you to be.
So dance, decorate, craft, bake, laugh, cry, go to every single game or make the ones you can.
Give your children you… because at the end of the day- you, uniquely you, is what they want.
And no other mom but you can take your place.