I'm driving down the road of my life, pretty certain of the route and destination until a roadblock, a street not on the map, a detour.
For the past year I thought that I was helping to inspire moms by showing them that I could love my job as a mother and chase big, creative dreams at the same time.
I thought that my book popping up on bookshelves would make mothers feel bigger or more possible.
I think I got it wrong. Maybe just by a little, but by enough.
Motherhood doesn't need a subsidy of "other" accomplishments.
I don't need to say I am a homemaker and an author.
You don't need to say I am a mother and a caterer.
Or I am a mother and I volunteer at the hospital.
You are a mother.
I am a mother.
And the world had never, ever needed us like it needs us now.
It has never needed us to stand more proud of our roles as mothers.
So many mothers conquer so many mountains. So many fight the battles alone.
Find me a stronger person than a mother who weeps in loneliness at night and wakes her children with a smile in the morning. I defy you to discover the equal of her courage.
While some people gather medals for their victories in careers and accomplishments, a mother never leaves the trenches.
She doesn't have time to tack a badge to her uniform because she is working.
I don't have time to write out a fancy resume of everything I can do and everything I am worth because I am busy holding up the entire world.
The entire world.
The weight of disappointment, discovery, knowledge, rejection, self-worth, self-doubt, faith and skepticism is crashing down on my children every day.
Every day they see the news and need to understand why the people are crying, why the children are hungry, why their friends got mad, why their homework is hard, why they can't have the lead in the play, why we all believe different things, why someone is poor, why someone is famous, why the bad people seem happy, or the good people don't get the help they need.
Huge, crippling, exciting questions. Crashing. Crashing down on their tender, innocent heads.
And I am their mother.
And it is not just the tough things. They need me as desperately for the wonderful things. They would fight their way through jungles and soldiers to show me what they painted. They yell for me to come look whenever something is cute or funny or beautiful. They need my smile, my nod, my comment, my approval. Not want it. Need it to understand what is great about life.
I am their tour guide through this madness.
I must teach them to fight for joy because it is a struggle.
I must be an example of courage when I am scared.
I must stay calm when they need stitches and stay in control when the toilet overfloweth.
In every situation, at every movie, every conversation, every interaction, their little faces turn to me and watch for cues. Is this good? Is this bad? How does Mom feel about it?
And I must pick up this entire world that I don't understand and I must keep it from crushing them. I must hand it to them answer by answer, moment by moment until they are strong enough to carry it themselves.
When the confusion and exhaustion overwhelm me I cannot quit, retire, go on vacation or take time off.
I am a mother.
We are mothers.
I am not a writer who followed her dream and caught it when I published a book. I am a mother who followed her dream and caught it when I first held my children.I am a mother who wrote her daughters a story.
I am a mother who will keep writing her daughters stories.
How wonderful for me that a few people have joined our storytime and let me read to them, as well.
And when they drift away and lose interest, that is all right because I have two little girls and I am their coach and we have a lot to get done. Every day is non-stop, intense training as they learn how to lift up the entire world.
They will need it someday soon when they are mothers.
I am not an author raising two children.
I am a mother telling stories.
I am a mother.