This Saturday I graduate with my Master of Communication Disorders, which means I will be a speech-language pathologist (therapist in less fancy language). This week will be one of reflection for me. This has been a long, hard road and I want to remember the lessons I learned along the way. In addition, I don’t ever want to forget those people who traveled this road with me. It would be a travesty to look back someday and think I did this by myself, for that could not be more untrue.
I have two really great girls. Going to graduate school has taught me so much about my daughters and has given me a fresh perspective on mothering them. These girls have taught me that they love me, no matter what. They love me even though I lose my temper and they are quick to forgive when I ask for it. They love me when I am great at mothering and when I fail at mothering. They love me because I am their mother and not because of what I do as their mother.
The last couple of years, I have done everything I could so these girls would not feel a twinge of discomfort. My mantra was, “I don’t ever want the girls to suffer because I am in school.” I never studied while they were awake. I pushed myself to stay up late and frost cupcakes for parties, create Halloween costumes, and plan fun activities during school breaks. Often, I teetered on the edge of sheer exhaustion because I wanted them to participate in all same activities as normal kids (as in kids whose mothers did not attend school).
Now the question is, “Did that make me a better mother?” No. The truth is that I probably would have been a better mother if I had rested a bit more and focused on enjoying my time with the girls more. By getting caught up in giving them the trappings of a perfect childhood, I started to miss what is really important about being a mom.
When I finally took a step back, I realized that my girls were teaching me what it is to be a good mom. For them, it is taking the time to listen, to cuddle, to affirm, to play, to be silly, to empathize, to support, to read, to kiss, to bake, to dance, to create, and to laugh. The girls need me to be there for them and they could care less if I make their Halloween costumes.