I knew how to love before I became a mom. I have always loved my parents and my brother and my grandparents and friends.
I then learned to love in a new way when I became a wife. It’s the same love, only different. Deeper and wider and fuller love. A love that will last a life time.
But the love I learned when I became a mom was a love that hurt.
See, I love my husband deeply and I would give up my very life for him. But the truth is that he is grown and his character is developed and I know him. It is easy for me to look at him and imagine what kind of man he will be in 10 years or 20 years or 40 years. When I love him, I feel peace.
But when I love my kids, sometimes it really hurts. I look at them and I see potential. I look at them and I see talent and beauty and brilliance and joy and all of the wonderful things in life. I see them with the eyes of a mother who feels like she knows what they can accomplish in life, how amazing they can be.
But the truth is I don’t know them yet.
I know who they are now, as 13, 3 and 2 year olds. I see character forming and personality growing. But I don’t know who they will be. And sometimes that is scary.
Sometimes I worry that the mistakes I make now will forever alter the course of their lives. That a hurtful word from a bully will damage their souls. That a failure will break them down and make them give up. That a broken heart will be unable to be mended.
Being a mom is scary. And being a mom hurts.
When my children hurt, I hurt in the deepest places. Say something mean to me and it stings. Say something mean to one of my children and I literally feel an ache in my chest.
I so badly want to throw my arms over them and shout to the world LEAVE THEM ALONE! DON’T YOU KNOW WHO THEY ARE? DON’T YOU SEE HOW AMAZING THEY ARE? DON’T YOU DARE HURT THEM!
And it hurts me because I know that as much as I may try, I can’t protect them. I can’t take away the pain that they’ve already been through, the losses, the trauma, the scars. I can’t protect them from heartbreak or envy.
Their future is theirs. I can influence and hope, but the path they each one of them takes will be their own.
I look forward to the day when I will be old and will look into the eyes of my children and see life shining there. I look forward to seeing the paths that they take and watching them grow.
I dread watching them fail and hurt and feel loss and shame.
The things that they will walk through will form them and shape them. I only hope that as their mother I can influence them with love enough that they will always be able to see the beauty of their own souls.