“Love proves itself by deeds, so how am I to show my love? Great deeds are forbidden me. The only way I can prove my love is by… every little sacrifice, every glance and word, and the doing of the least actions for love.” – Saint Therese
I read something recently in an email subscription that said mamas are the magic makers for their family. Initially, I loved that sentiment- we create the magic for our babies, for our husbands, for our family as a whole. When I thought about it a little more, I began to doubt myself as the magic maker of our family. I am not the fun parent, I am the one that keeps us on schedule- therapy twice a week, bath nights, and ensuring everyone ate three meals that day (except for myself, of course, because who has time?). I set the limits on technology, I make sure my oldest doesn’t survive off of ice cream and cookies. Where’s the magic in that?
Since I am a stay at home mom, I know my kids better than anyone. Our oldest has a speech disorder, I am, quite literally, the only one who understands him 95% of the time he speaks. I spend a lot of my days translating for family members, strangers, and even my husband. I have had to learn how to discern what he is saying, taking verbal and nonverbal cues to understand his sentences. It feels like we have a million inside jokes because I laugh at the funny stuff he says that no one else can understand. He always knows that his words, those that are hard to understand and those that are not, are always acknowledged. That is magic.
There are some days when my daughter wants anyone but me to put her down for a nap- mostly because she wants to continue to fight the sleep she so desperately needs. But when bedtime rolls around, there isn’t a single person she wants more than me. She lays her head, full of sweet baby curls, on my stomach as she holds her baby doll tight. We laugh and point to body parts before her eyes become heavy and she succumbs to heavy breathing and silence. That is magic.
Motherhood is not made up of magical moments all day every day. Most days are rough; temper tantrums and sibling bickering fill up every crevice of our house. There are times when I feel suffocated by the noise and the toddler attitude. There is nothing magical about breaking up fights between a four and one- year- old. There is nothing magical about spilling coffee on yourself while you wrangle your toddler into your arms. With naptime being nearly non-existent in this house, I am very rarely alone, very rarely in a quiet headspace. Some days, there is nothing magical about having an audience in the bathroom, never having a moment of silence to gather your thoughts, never having two hands to eat with.
Not every moment of motherhood is glamorous (I’m not sure there are many moments at all that are). But, as my children grow I am realizing that there are little moments throughout each day that are pure magic. It has taken me awhile to get to this point, mostly because I have not been available enough to see these magical moments, I have been trying to survive. But the older they get, the more I see what they are learning from me, I realize that I have the power to be a magic maker for my family. There isn’t a single person in our family that plays a bigger role than I do. I am, after all, the main caregiver 24 hours a day, seven days a week. So how am I showing my love to my family? How am I being the vision of love that they need and deserve? What am I showing them about love, how to show love, and even how to accept love? How am I creating magic for them?
The short answer? I’m not.
I like to think that I am, even in some small way, accomplishing these feats, but I know I’m not. I am short on patience most of the time (all of the time…). I let the exhaustion of being the schedule keeper, laundry doer, driver, chef weigh me down. I sulk in the fact that I have to be multiple things to multiple people all day (and most of the night), which leaves very little room to acknowledge myself as a person with needs. I was becoming bitter and angry about this, but I realized that there is nothing I can do to change this, and I honestly don’t want to. I have decades before I am an empty-nester, with all of the time in the world to write and nap, and bask in the golden silence I vaguely remember from my past. And when that time comes, I’m sure it will be full of magic. But, where I am now is the most magical time I will experience. It is what I have always dreamed of. And rather than living like everything is an inconvenience, I need to start living like everything is magic. That’s how I show my children my love: treat them like they are magic.
If I take the time to look around me, there are million little moments every single day that are pure magic. Like when my son says something at therapy that is really hard for him and he does it perfectly. Every new word my daughter learns and repeats. When my daughter tells anyone who sneezes “bleb yu”. When my son holds the door open for strangers. When (by some magical force) both of my children listen to me. When bedtime doesn’t last an hour ( and sometimes when it does). Hearing “please” and “thank you” unprompted. “I love you” and “I like you” being yelled at me from the back row. Hearing “mama” a hundred times a day (even when it gets irritating, it is still magic because am I really a mama? Is this really my life? Magic).
If there is anything my kids can be certain of, one truth from this life that they have been given, it is that they know they are deeply loved. I don’t do everything right. But they are met with hugs and kisses and “I love you’s” many times a day, they hand out apologies when they need to and they accept mine. They know their needs will be met. They have a shoulder to cry on and they lend theirs when I need one, too. We laugh together, dance together, cry together, and never end the day upset with one another. And now, we will always notice the magic.
*email from here.