I am the Mommy in this family.
This means I always know where the plastic baby doll, a clean pacifier, the back-up jar of peanut butter and the nearest bathroom are to be found. (I have an instinct for noticing public restrooms like a great explorer marks a fresh water source.) I always know when everyone’s nails were last clipped and ears were last cleaned. Though I haven’t yet retrieved these I am aware of the red plastic strawberry under the armchair in the living room and the miniature purple sock behind the baby’s bureau. I am the source of information concerning everyone’s history, routine, behavior, health and diet. I am the Mommy.
It means I do the Mommy things. I administer dozens of hugs and kisses in a single day. I find myself licking my hand to cleanse my children in public, taking far too many photographs, and applying creative energy to getting the last bit of food eaten. For this I use the knack I have suddenly developed for propaganda: Do you want some yummy-carrots? There’s one delicious little chunk of chicken left, let’s make a super quick potty stop, and have some cleanup fun time. I often check myself on the point of iterating the old bromides: They’re growing too fast and Can you ask nicely and Because I said so. . . (and I’m the Mommy).
I am a nurse, laundress, seamstress, housemaid, cook, storyteller, and wild animal trainer. I am a teacher, personal shopper, tour guide, portrait photographer, librarian, dietician, event coordinator, cheerleader and lecturer in the fields of ethics and etiquette. I am the builder of forts, desserts and confidence. I am counselor, role model, helper and lifelong friend. I am the Mommy in this family.
I rarely finish a beverage, use the bathroom by myself, or partake in an uninterrupted conversation. I am the first on scene when the children wake up and the last one to leave it as they melt into sleep. And I am known to return for encores when anyone is feeling anxious, ill, or lonely. I tiptoe in the dark to replace the blankets and drop kisses on their heads. And every time I leave feeling blessed that I am their Mommy.
It is I who stand them back up when they fall, who they smile at first when something is funny. I am still first choice for cuddles and stories. My presence and my voice dissipate their fears. I know them in their sweet sunny moods, their noisy silly ones, their quiet noticing ones. I can call their bluff. I am an observer of my children, and I know them best. I often cry because they are close to my heart, I often laugh because they are hilarious and I am their Mommy.
My main battles are with fatigue, impatience, and worry. My main strength is love. Love to cover a multitude of mistakes and misjudgments. God-given love that is stronger than even my selfishness.