Mothering is hard, but not hopeless

One time, while scrolling through Facebook, I saw the sweetest picture of a mother and her high school son all suited up for his big football game. The mother’s caption gushed with goodness because her son was growing oh-so-big, now surpassing his mother in height. As I read her enduring post, the endnote caught me a bit off guard as she declared a word of encouragement to young mothers everywhere by saying, “hang in there, this parenting thing definitely gets easier.”

I wish I could agree that it gets easier. Sure, some things get easier, but in my experience there is an exchange for a different sorta hard. The truth is that mothering is hard, through all the seasons. The journey to young adulthood is complicated. Equally, the path to re-learning how to parent a young adult can be discombobulating. There is no Forever Field Guide to Successful Parenting. What works for you, may not work for me; what works for child A may not work for child B; what is easy for you might be hell for me.

While mothering may be hard, it is not hopeless.

We are all mothers. We are all nurturing, holding, loving, taking care of, or giving birth to something. The reality is that there simply isn’t a one size fits all manual for mothering our hope.

I’m enjoying this sweetly written book by Winn Collier. In one scene the main character stumbles upon a baby bluebird that has tumbled out of the nest too soon. The character goes on to say,

“Eventually, I walked on. I don’t know the fledglings fate, but I do know that mama blue did all she could manage. She couldn’t return her chick to safety. She could only circle near, watch with care, and offer the best she had to give, no matter how meager. So she stayed close and hoped favor would bend their way. I think this is how it is for most of us who love someone or carry concern for this world. We will never be able to right all wrongs or heal every wound. We cannot keep harm from those dearest to us. To love is to do our best and then hope, to have faith. Often, love means simply circling and staying near -trusting that this will somehow prove enough.”

This is the hope I’m talking about. Our mothering can carry us so far, but ultimately there will always be circumstances that fall out of our hands. The dream goes a different direction. The picture takes on a different shape. The life-form we love is still becoming. Our hope? Stay near. Keep circling. Swallow the pill of trust and let it bring life to your bones.

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