Sometimes I Call My Firstborn My Practice Child

Sometimes I call him the Practice Child. The oldest of five.

Born to a mom and dad deep in debt and struggling. Right in the middle of a failing marriage.

We dragged him through several jobs and our marital problems and four different moves.
I’ll never forget the day I came home to find the water to our house had been turned off because of a neglected bill.
I hitched his baby brother higher on one hip and ripped the little pink notice off the door as
I accidentally wondered aloud how we’d get through the weekend without water.

What kind of mother lets this happen???

What are we supposed to do now???
Then my eyes settled on the look of deep despair spreading across his little three-year-old face.
“But Momma…without water we’ll DIE!!”
I felt like such a failure that day.
And I wish I could say after 15 years of parenting (and a little more practice at LIFE in general) I have it all figured out now.

I wish I could say I never mess up.

Never get it wrong.
Never fall flat on my face.
I wish I could say I’m the perfect mother.
But the truth is…I’m not.
Not even close.

Day after day I mess up in a million ways.

I struggle to find the right school or the right team or the right level of responsibility.
I struggle to know when to step in and when to step out.
I struggle to find a patient and loving response to his rolling eyes.
I just…struggle.
And the guilt runs deep.

Sometimes I long to lay my head on his big tall shoulder and say, “I wish I could’ve done better for you, sweetheart. You deserve better. You deserve…everything.”

God, I wish it wasn’t so messy.
And motherhood.
But then some nights as I pray in the dark and let my fat warm tears drip onto the pillow…
This little whisper of peace settles in my heart.
Maybe He always knew it would be hard, messy work.

Maybe He understood exactly the ways I would struggle

Maybe He realized I would mess up and get it wrong and fall down and keep trying and love fiercely and NEVER, EVER GIVE UP.
And maybe…just maybe.
He chose me anyway.
Because He believes despite my imperfections…I’m just the right mom for the job.
This post originally appeared on Ordinary On Purpose


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