The best and hardest job you may ever have

It was C day in kindergarten recently. C being for career, kids came dressed as the career they wanted to have when they grew up.

A 6-year-old granddaughter who sports a mop of curly auburn hair, eats like food is a full-body contact sport, yet is built like a string bean, went wearing jeans, a long sleeve shirt, her hair pulled back with a pink polka dot headband, a green apron, a yellow baby carrier strapped to her chest on top of the apron, a Madeline doll tucked inside the baby carrier and a toy cell phone protruding from a back pocket.

Mom. That’s what she wants to be when she grows up. A mother. Just like her mother.

Did I mention that the kid is sweet, funny, playful—and can shoot a look that can melt steel?

The school never called, so I guess nobody challenged her on wanting to be a mom. Nobody told her to aim higher or to think outside the box.

The kid is already in training. The family has an aquarium full of fish. She keeps a close eye on them—monitoring them, watching them, naming them, predicting which ones will have the next babies and telling her dad when some of the fish are bullies and nibble on another fish’s fins.

Fish today, infants tomorrow. Everybody starts somewhere, right?

What does it take to be a mom? You know, besides cute headbands and a cell phone in your rear pocket?

It takes everything—everything you’re willing to give, everything you’re not willing to give, and then some. If you’ve ever seen one of those old iron rug beaters women used a century ago to beat carpets with, that’s what being a mom feels like somedays. There are days when motherhood simply beats everything you’ve got right out of you.

Of course, there are also wonderful, memorable, frozen-in-time days, receiving sweet hand-written notes and drawings of yourself where you look like an alien. Days when someone picked the towels off the bathroom floor without being told. An adolescent opens up without the slightest coercion. Someone says thank you. A grown child phones just to check in and say hello.

Like all of life, motherhood is a mix. At times, being a mom may be the hardest job you’ll ever have, the greatest heartache you may ever know and the deepest well of joy and satisfaction you could ever imagine.

There are days motherhood fills your heart with such love and wonder that you think you might just explode. But you don’t. Because after you exploded, you’d be the one cleaning it up.

One of the greatest things any mother can teach a child is how to keep  going through every sort of day, rain or shine.

Happy Mother’s Day, moms. Keep going.


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