I have started this letter approximately 10 times — or 10 hundred times, if you count the versions that I wrote in my head when I was driving. I’m also pretty sure I wrote it once in a dream! Each time before this one, I would be interrupted by kids, the doorbell, a phone call (or text message), or some other form of distraction.
Each month I have the unique opportunity to share with many other parents a little insight into my own interpretation of life as a mom. Though a little NWA notoriety is nice, it’s also fun to meet new people who don’t know me or my family story — or even the number of kids I have. For instance, last month, on a quick getaway, I sat down next to another mom in the swimming pool holding a baby. In her mind, she figured I was a new mom, just like her, with an infant. Then, my oldest daughter Ava came up to me to ask a question; two minutes later, Grant came to give the baby a hug; and, a few seconds later, Holden yells out, “Mom, look at this lizard I caught!” I had to laugh when the other mom asked me if I was the mom of everyone at the pool. I’m sure, to her, watching the number of kids calling me “Mom” go from 1 to 4 in a matter of minutes was the equivalent to watching a large group of clowns exit a small car.
A shirt I saw online (and had to have) said it best: “I live in a madhouse run by a tiny little army that I created.” So true, and so exactly where I want to be–equal parts crazy and beautiful. There is no other role or experience in this world that compares with the range of emotion that motherhood produces. The spectrum of parenthood spans from extreme joy to frustration, pride to guilt, to heart-pounding love–and, most of the time, all of these can be felt to some degree before breakfast.
There is no other experience like that of being a parent. You can go from days that are so exhausting, they make you question every decision you have ever made, to days where you are so full of joy that your cup doesn’t just runneth over… it floods the house! Feeling it all–the good and the bad–gives my life purpose and makes me feel more alive than any other adrenaline sport in the world. To be honest, though, I gotta admit that this stage of life is hard. Like, really, really, really hard. You would never know it, though, because, as hard as it is, it’s also 100 times more wonderful. A rough day can be erased with an extra long hug goodnight from your little one. The heart-wrenching pain of watching your child struggle with a subject in school can not only be “un-wrenched,” but made to explode with pride when they show signs that they are having an “ah-ha!” moment.
I often hear Facebook feeds referred to as the “highlight reel” of one’s day, but I like to think of it more as the “celebration portion.” The images in the photos aren’t digitally created, after all–they really happened, and the screaming and fighting or the major messes created that might have occured before the image are all part of what led to that special moment. It isn’t the single point of “good,” it is the culmination of the entire experience summed up. In that vein, even though I realize how truly beautiful being a mom is, there are still parts of me that recognize that the struggle is real. In fact, last month I broke a crown on my tooth–which, I understand, is pretty hard to do–because, instead of showing stress on the outside, apparently I take it out on my teeth and hold them in a permanent grind position throughout the day. Shout out to childhood friend Trent McCord at Mint Dental in Centerton for the fix! Having four kids with four different schedules is a balancing act like no other, day in and day out, Don’t get me wrong, though… there were also a lot of spinning plates when I only had one child.
Somehow, this stage of life is the one when the clock hands seem to spin faster than ever before. Things that feel like they happened just yesterday actually happened two years ago, and your kids are becoming little adults, sprouting up right before your eyes. Because you know this, you want to hold on so tightly to your sweet little people… and also find solace in the fact that those occasional “teeth-grinding” phases will soon pass. If I can keep that in mind, I can look into each of my children’s eyes and be present for them, and tell them I love them, because they’re worth every moment.
Until next month… – Kim Enderle