Sunday, May 12, 2013

Love Hurts

Wednesday was one of those days when there was not enough of me to go around.  One of those days when by 10:30 pm I had not had dinner yet.  I was famished but too drained to do anything about it.  So I made my way upstairs and switched around one last load of laundry, knowing the dryer would be about done by the time I crawled into bed.  

As I stood brushing my teeth, I thought about how intense the day had been and the unfortunate moments when some of the intensity came from my own voice.  I wished I had been better for my children that day.  Gentler. Sweeter.

I grabbed a new bar of soap and wrote on the mirror of the kids' bathroom:

"How this mother LOVES her children!"

My heart ached as I wrote it.  Not because I was down or sad, but because my heart was so full of love for each of my five children and nothing I could do or say would help them fully understand that.  I wanted them to know, TO FEEL the magnitude of my affection for them.  That despite my imperfections as a mother-

when I respond with a voice that is less than sweet,  
when I choose the clean floor over letting a little one "help" in the kitchen,
or when I just don't get around to helping with that homework assignment

-I LOVE them immeasurably.  

When I finally climbed into bed, I was still overwhelmed by the complicated collage of emotions daring me to do something more useful than compose mirror messages in soap.

But as I closed my eyes I knew the feeling would temper.  It always does.  It comes on strong but only intermittently, sparsely punctuating the normal ebb-and-flow of motherhood and activities of family life.

Their reply two days later on the bathroom mirror

made me think my children love me so much their hearts hurt sometimes, too.

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