The moment I walked through the doors of my 4-year olds pre-k prep class, I saw that I was in for a very special treat. My sweet child ran to me with a handmade (literally) bouquet of flowers, listing reasons why she loves me. I’m quite certain I melted into a puddle right there on that floor.
Even though she’s come home with a new craft each week for several months now, (most of which serve as priceless decor on our refrigerator), something about this was different.
This little project was truly just for me. She expressed her thoughts and knew what she wanted to share, and as I read these four simple statements, my heart burst. I thanked God that even in my many, many weaknesses, He’s blessed me with this precious girl who absolutely, positively, loves her mama.
Here’s what my Alex had to say:
1. She helps me A LOT to go night time.
Ah the nighttime routine. It’s one that I simultaneous love and loathe. It’s repeating everything numerous times, and pulling teeth to get her to do what we’ve been asking of her every night for most of her short life! But when we finally make it to the bed it’s quiet time and prayer. It’s reading books and being asked a zillion questions. And lately it’s been honoring the request to lay with her for just a few moments, so she can be close to me before she drifts to sleep.
Sometimes I want to rush this time. I want to skip the book and hope that for once her recap of the day is short and sweet (she’s my child so I don’t know why I’m living in a dream world with that one 😂), but this reminds me that this time is important to her and it’s important to me too.
Nights like this won’t last always.
2. She helps me clean up my room.
Scattered puzzle pieces, blocks, an assortment of food, stuffed animals, books and dolls. Crayons, musical instruments, balls, bubbles, blankets and clothes. The list goes on and it never ends. The mess is cleaned for the night but come morning I know I’ll do it again and again and again. My inner monologue says what’s the point, but then I hear words that my independent daughter rarely speaks.
“Mama, I need your help.”
Sure, some of those cries for help are simply code for ‘I don’t wanna clean up this mess I’ve made’, but when the princess of ‘mama I got this’ wants us to be a team, I want to remember to take the time to work with her. I want her to know that I will always partner with her in whatever she may need, and that our time together, even in the mundane, matters.
3. Helps me put away dishes.
I genuinely laughed out loud at this one. My husband also thought it was hilarious but knew it’s exactly what she would say!
Like chewing gum and wearing big girl underwear, doing dishes with mommy has somehow become a badge of honor. She runs to the bathroom to get her step stool, and is the best dish rinser and stacker I know.
It takes longer when she helps me (or, apparently when I help her, haha), but it’s become a special time. It’s a joy knowing that she wants to learn from me and show me what a big girl she truly is. And if soapy suds and water splashing on the floor help instill confidence in her capabilities while making priceless memories, then her stool is always welcome.
4. She’s beautiful.
This is the one that sealed the deal for some tears.
Do I believe that I’m beautiful? Yes. Do I always feel beautiful? No.
Nearly 20 months postpartum I’m still carrying around about 25 pounds of baby weight from her little sister. Every shirt I own is a large (or larger) to camouflage my insecurities, and if you see me outside my home you better believe I’m doing my best to suck that belly in.
I can go on to expert levels of picking myself apart, but what good would that do for my self-esteem or for the 2 pairs of eyes that are always on me?
My daughter doesn’t see my flaws, she sees my love. She sees the person that carried her in her tummy and the one who made her laugh as a baby. When my hair is curled it makes her proud that we match, and when I frown in the mirror she smiles because she sees a part of herself in me.
She believes that I am beautiful and I want her to always know that she is beautiful too.
This may have been a Mother’s Day craft, but for me it was an eye-opening reminder. My role is to do the best I can, each and every day, and in spite of my shortcomings and failures, I am deeply loved by my children.
Know this friend.
SO ARE YOU.