Since moving into a new house, with five kids and another on the way, I have had many opportunities to clean my barely beige walls, painted in flat paint.
While I'm cleaning them (again), I chant something my mom told me years ago, “You will miss this when they are gone… you will miss this when they are gone…”
One particular wall-wiping occasion took a bit longer than usual thanks to our 3-year-old who, by the looks of the walls, was afraid he would forget how to find his way back up from the basement, so made himself a little chocolate hand trail to follow. I started thinking, “Really? Really?! Will I really miss this when they are all gone?”
Then, just when I was about to give in to the thought that my main motherhood role lately has been more of an “eraser” than a “builder of nations,” I started thinking about how in today’s society the actual role of mother is so knocked down.
Sure, people give it the lip service like, “motherhood is the hardest job of all” or “every mother is a working woman,” but, unless one has truly been in the trenches, day in and day out, reorganizing your schedule for the 97th time because you suddenly find yourself cleaning the dumped bottle of sunscreen all over the floor, or fabric softener pool in your purse, or get all the kids loaded into the car only to find the last one has a major diaper blow-out, I don’t think those lip service phrases mean anything.
There really is no way you can describe the role of a mother with any cliché or catchy phrase.
Motherhood is simply indescribable, in both good and bad ways. It’s tough. It’s awesome. It’s sweet. It’s stinky. It’s fun. It’s depressing. It’s enchanting. It’s lonely. It’s pretty much every emotion, every day, changing minute by minute.
In this particular moment of time (of wiping down the chocolate trail), somehow, somewhere, I found great satisfaction in knowing that I was (I hoped!) making my mark in the hearts of five little souls that have gingerly been placed in my care. Though I couldn’t put any tangible name to the mark, I became acutely aware of just how important the “Mother’s Mark” is on the heart of every child who enters this world.
Will I be able to create the “mother’s mark” in my own children? I may never know in this lifetime, but one thing I do know is they have left marks in my heart that will last much, much longer than a chocolate hand print on the wall. And yes, I think I will miss those tiny prints guiding my kids back from their basement adventures once their adventures lead them outside the walls of my home and the grasp of my arms. So for now, I will be content to wipe off the wall marks, and try to etch my own marks on their tiny precious hearts.