One night, when Nathan was about 18 months old, we were eating dinner together as a family. Nathan had gotten in the habit of propping his feet up on the edge of the table and, like most 18 month olds, found our efforts to stop him hilarious.
On this particular night, he propped his feet up and then pushed, hard. Immediately, the pub-height chair his booster seat was strapped to started to topple backward. The chair, and my son, were headed straight for the glass doors that led to our back porch.
I remember Jon gasping, frozen in horror. Without thinking, I jumped from my chair, grabbed Nathan and yanked with all my strength. I snapped the nylon straps holding the booster to the chair and broke off the back of the chair. Nathan (and his seat) were safely in my arms, while the chair crashed to the floor. I breathed deeply, shaken at the near miss.
“How did you DO that?” Jon asked afterward. Fair question, since I’m not exactly known for my upper body strength. But I didn’t really have an answer, other than I did what I had to do.
I have a friend with a special needs child. She spends hours on the phone, arguing with insurance companies to cover the medicine and therapies he needs and advocates tirelessly for him to receive every educational opportunity. She’s a tenacious, determined, committed mother. I find myself marveling at her strength and tell her as much, but she shrugs and responds, I’m just doing what needs to be done.
I have another friend who’s a single mom. Two small kids depend on her for, well, everything. She wears all the parenting and working hats in her household … and she rocks them. I tell her she’s my hero and ask how on earth she does it all, but she just says, what other choice is there? It must be done, so I do it.
We’re all just doing what we have to do, aren’t we? The sleepless nights, the messes, the sick children. Every now and then, when we clear a particularly difficult stage or time, we might look back and think, how did I manage? How did I DO that? But in the moment, we’re just doing what needs to be done, day in and day out.
So flex your muscles, mamas. Draw deep from the well of strength, endurance and sheer grit that God placed in your soul, right next to the fount of never-ending love for these little people we’ve been entrusted with.
Strong as steel? No way. Steel is inflexible, cold, unyielding. We are soft, warm – a haven.
Strong as a mother.
*The shirt was my Mother’s Day gift from Jon. Order your own from the Delish General Store.