On my 6th Mother’s Day

In Family by Allison Byxbe

My dear, wildly precious children,

Being your mother is, to me, a mostly impossible task. I’m being asked to be who I am not yet.

You see, I didn’t often feel the sting of failure in my mostly sheltered and protected suburban American upbringing. That is, until those nurses placed one tiny red-headed baby into my trembling arms, and then another, and then one more — I didn’t really know the full weight and measure, the intensifying humility of failing more times than I can recount.

All of my impatience, all of my fear, and all of my short-sightedness. My not yet good enough. Or kind enough. Or brave enough. My simply not enough. And yet you keep calling me mama and mom and mommy. Keep asking for my squishy hugs, my off-key singing, my silly games. You keep asking for all of me.

And some days it feels like I am cracking wide open.

So I look to those who have mama’d before me and around me. I search for reassurance that all these cracks aren’t disassembling me. No, you are breaking open deep wells of grace and light, all running together in a masterful design not too late in coming.

You, my dear ones, are my grace bearers. Grace upon grace upon grace. Because you know nothing more than to love me fiercely with your quick forgiveness and eager, whole-hearted affection. Your sweet kisses, and belly laughs and crazy joy.

Maybe, I’ve been thinking, this making parents out of failings, is purposeful. Perhaps Dr. Nixon is right – failure isn’t the problem, it’s the point. As your mama, I am both not enough and just enough. So that even though I am not yet who I ought to be, I am becoming.