I think back to being a young mom and all the mistakes I made. I was impatient. I yelled too much.
I wasn’t present enough.
I didn’t enjoy the moment.
I did a million things wrong.
I could’ve been a better mom.
I could’ve made sure my kids had vegetables every day.
I could’ve saved more money to take better vacations.
I could’ve made them clean their rooms more.
I could’ve taught them sign language or Spanish as babies.
I could’ve laughed more and complained less.
I could’ve taken every dang second I could to sniff their little heads and feel their chubby arms squeeze me tight.
But then I see pictures and I remember.
I took photos–lots of them–because I was THERE.
Their rooms weren’t magazine-quality clean, but they were surrounded by toys and books and cars and art supplies.
For years we didn’t have money to buy a house of our own, so we built plenty of snow forts, blankets forts, Lego towers, 4-wheeler trails, and race track sets.
We went swimming all the time at nearby lakes. It wasn’t on an exotic beach somewhere. But my kids didn’t care. All they wanted to do was splash their parents and build sprawling sand castles with soupy moats.
They didn’t have green vegetables every day but they were well-fed and sticky with syrup from the pancakes their dad made them.
I got up every night to soothe away night terrors and turn lullabies back on.
When I was impatient, I apologized afterwards and smothered them in kisses.
I cheered them on in every sport, activity, concert, recital, race, and milestone–with tears in my eyes and endless, bottomless enthusiasm.
For all of my flaws, I adored my kids. They were my reason for existing, and they knew it every second.
I remember it now. They didn’t lack.
They were bursting with sunshine and infectious giggles. They were happy.
And I did smell their little heads as often as I could.
And when their chubby little arms squeezed me…
I did not let go first.
I was a good mom.